Riverhead NJROTC Unit #96871
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CAPT Matthew M. Loughlin

CAPT Matthew M. Loughlin



A native of Kingston, New York and raised in nearby Esopus, Captain Loughlin graduated from the State University of New York at New Paltz in 1983 and was commissioned through Officer Candidate School in March 1985.

His initial sea tours were in USS VOGE (FF 1047) where he served as Damage Control Assistant and USS DWIGHT D EISENHOWER (CVN 69) where he served as Assistant Combat Information Center Officer. Captain Loughlin’s department head assignments included tours aboard USS AUBREY FITCH (FFG 34) and Commander, Destroyer Squadron FOURTEEN staff, both as Operations Officer.

Captain Loughlin served as Executive Officer of Pearl Harbor-based USS CROMMELIN (FFG 37) from November 1998 to March 2000. From January 2003 to September 2004 he commanded USS DE WERT (FFG 45) homeported in Mayport, Florida.

His duties ashore included stints as Flag Secretary to Commander, U.S. Naval Forces Southern Command in Fort Amador, Panama and also to the Chief of Naval Education and Training in Pensacola, Florida. He completed a short assignment to the U.S. Department of State in Washington, DC in the Political-Military Bureau. He also served on the Commander, U.S. Naval Forces Central Command staff in the N5 Plans shop.

Post-Command, Captain Loughlin was assigned as the Operations, Plans and Policy Director (J3/J5) at Joint Interagency Task Force West located at Camp Smith, Hawaii. His most recent assignment was as Deputy Chief of Staff for Joint Task Force 519 in Pearl Harbor, Hawaii.

Captain Loughlin is a 1997 Naval War College graduate, earning a masters degree in National Security and Strategic Studies.

In August, 2016, he joined the Riverhead NJROTC program as the SNSI of the unit.

Gunnery Sergeant Mahala (Ret.) (also known as "Gunny") worked as the Operations Chief of Marine Aircraft Group 46, at the Marine Corps Air Station, In Miramar, California. He has also served as the Operations Chief of Marine Aircraft Group 49 at the Joint Reserve Base, in Willow Grove, Pennsylvania. Gunner Sergeant Mahala has had experience working with the Third Army, Coalition Forces Land Component Command, Kuwait; which was in support of Operation Enduring Freedom, which took place immediately after the events of September 11th, 2001. Gunnery Sergeant Mahala has also been stationed on the USS Midway in support of Operation Fiery Vigil, for the evacuation of U.S. Personnel following the eruption of Mount Pinatubo in the Philippines. Gunnery Sergeant Mahala has also trained with several Marine helicopter squadrons during the Combined Arms Exercise (CAX), at the Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center, Twenty-Nine Palms, California. Gunnery Sergeant Mahala retired from the Marine Corps on August 30th, 2003. During his time with the Marine Corps, Gunnery Sergeant Mahala was decorated with the Joint Service Achievement Medal, Navy/Marine Corps Medal with a gold star, Marine Corps Good Conduct Medal with a silver star, Nation Defense Service Medal with a bronze star, and the Military Outstanding Volunteer Service Medal. After retiring from the Marine Corps, he became a Naval Science Instructor at Owen J. Roberts High School. Unfortunately, the program was closed down due to the lack of cadets within the unit. Gunnery Sergeant Mahala now is a Naval Science Instructor at Riverhead High School, where he teaches first year cadets (also referred as NS1's) about how to be a well rounded citizen, about our country and our countries history, how to be a leader; all of which are staples of being a cadet enrolled in NJROTC.