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LT "SID" Salassi

LT James "SID" Salassi

MAG 36

Lieutenant James W. Salassi III was raised in Hesperia, CA where he attended Sultana High School. He graduated from Point Loma Nazarene University in San Diego, CA in 2010 with a Bachelors of Arts in Exercise Science. In 2013 he completed his Masters of Science degree at California State University, Long Beach and began his naval career as a Lieutenant Junior Grade at Officer Development School, Newport, Rhode Island in 2014.
LTJG Salassi then reported to Naval Aviation Medical Institute, Pensacola, FL where he completed Aeromedical Officer (AMO) training. In addition to the being academically trained, LTJG Salassi attended Aviation Pre-flight Indoctrination, received an abbreviated fixed wing and rotary wing flight syllabus at VT-10 and HT-8, respectively. LTJG Salassi earned his Naval Aerospace and Operational Physiologist (NAOP) Wings as NAOP #338 in May of 2015. Upon graduation, he reported to Naval Air Station Whidbey Island, Washington where he completed his NAOP Internship at Aviation Survival Training Center (ASTC), Whidbey Island. While at the ASTC he served as the Assistant Director from 2015-2016 and promoted to the rank of Lieutenant.

LT Salassi reported to his current tour at Marine Aircraft Group (MAG) 39 in June of 2017 where he serves as the Aeromedical Safety Officer (AMSO) and supports AH-1Z, UH-1Y, and MV-22B aviators and aircrew, and helps support 1st Marine Division Ground Forces. Here he qualified as an Aviation Safety Officer, a Night Imaging and Threat Evaluation (NITE) Lab Instructor, Technical Laser Safety Officer, Radiation Safety Manager, and Chemical, Biological, Radiological and Nuclear Defense (CBRN-D) Gear subject matter expert. LT Salassi established MAG-39’s first aviation CBRN training program and trained the entire MAG’s pilot, aircrew and Ground Force Marine population. His efforts also facilitated the establishment of 3d Marine Aircraft Wing’s (3d MAW) programmatic stand-up and best practices. The Marines trained at 3d MAW were part of the largest reported training movement of aircrew CBRN to date. In March of 2020, LT Salassi led the first fleet team to introduce the newest aviation CBRN respirator, the Joint Service Aircrew Mask (JSAM), and trained the first operational squadron in the Navy and Marine Corps. In addition to these efforts, LT Salassi led his Aeromedical Team to develop the first Marine Ground Operational Night Vision Device training curriculum, training over 1,500 Ground Combat Element Marines and Sailors to standards equivalent to its aviation counterpart.

LT Salassi has logged more than 250 hours in seven type/model/series aircraft in the Navy and Marine Corps. His awards and decorations include the Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal, the 2019 Naval Aerospace and Operational Physiologist of the Year, and he recently qualified as a Fleet Marine Force Officer. He actively publishes scientific literature in the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research, the Society of United States Naval Aerospace and Operational Physiology (SUSNAOP) newsletter NEXUS, The Marine Corps Safety Division Blue Threat newsletter, and proudly serves as the Vice President for SUSNAOP.



LT Leah Bradley
Vice President
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LT Natalie "Kiwi" Ireland

ASTC Miramar

Lieutenant Ireland is a native of Coronado, California. She graduated from the University of California Los Angeles in 2014 with a Bachelor of Science in Biology. As a walk-on to the Division 1 women’s rowing team, she competed for UCLA for four seasons and served as team captain. She continued her education at the University of West Florida to earn a Master of Science in Exercise Science while working as a Pensacola Beach Lifeguard.

Lieutenant Ireland commissioned in 2018 as an MSC officer and has since completed training at Officer Development School and the Naval Aerospace Medical Institute receiving the designation of Naval Aerospace and Operational Physiologist #357 in 2019. She is currently completing her internship at the Aviation Survival Training Center Miramar. At the ASTC, she is a certified US Navy Lifeguard, Maintenance Division Officer, and active member of the ASTC Miramar Staff Association. In her free time, she enjoys prone paddleboarding, triathlon, and running ultra-marathons in the San Diego area.

LT Natalie "Sheila" Ireland
Secretary / Treasurer
LT Chris “Dora” Mecham
Social Director

Lieutenant Christopher Mecham was born in Coeur D’Alene, Idaho. In 2016, he graduated from Boise State University earning a Masters of Science in Kinesiology and a Bachelors of Science in Exercise Physiology. He was commissioned as a Lieutenant Junior Grade in July 2017 and attended Officer Development School (ODS) in August 2017. Upon completion of ODS, he reported to the Naval Aerospace Medical Institute in Pensacola, FL and was designated a Naval Aerospace/Operational Physiologist in May 2018.


Lieutenant Junior Grade Mecham reported to Aviation Survival Training Center (ASTC), Lemoore on 01 June 2018 for his Division Officer internship. While at ASTC Lemoore he led a staff of 25 sailors and civilians providing life-saving survival training for Navy and Marine Corps pilots and aircrew to include: Sensory Physiology, Altitude Threats, GLOC protection, First Aid, Aviation Life Support Systems, Parachute decent procedures, and Water survival.


In June 2020, Lieutenant Mecham reported to Marine Aircraft Group (MAG) 39 to serve as the Aeromedical Safety Officer (AMSO). His primary responsibilities are to provide Aeromedical briefs and support to enhance lethality and safety throughout flight and ground operations. Lieutenant Mecham is the MAG-39 Night Imaging and Threat Evaluation (NITE) Lab Manager, Technical Laser Safety Officer, Radiation Safety Officer, and Fleet Air Indoctrination/Liaison of Survival Aircrew Flight Equipment (FAILSAFE) Officer.

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LT Chris “Gator” Gilg

LT Gilg was born in Frankfurt, Germany and is the son of two U.S. Army Soldiers. He graduated with a Bachelor’s of Science in Exercise Science from Indiana University and a Master’s of Sciences in Human Factors in Aeronautics from the Florida Institute of Technology.

LT Gilg received his commissioned in 2010 and earned his Naval Flight Officer wings in 2011. From 2011 to 2015, while assigned to Patrol Squadron NINE, he amassed over 1,400 hours in the P-3C and deployed as the Combat Aircrew Eight Mission Commander in support of Operations ENDURING FREEDOM, ACTIVE ENDEAVOR, NIMBLE WARNING, JUKEBOX LOTUS and JUNIPER SHIELD. From 2015 to 2018, LT Gilg served as the Pacific Reconnaissance Operations Center Officer in Charge and Chief of Reconnaissance to Commander, U.S. Pacific Fleet Naval Air Liaison Element. He planned and managed the safe execution over 5,000 sensitive reconnaissance missions, with 105 drawing Commander in Chief approval, uniting Pacific reconnaissance collection capabilities for National Security Council Collection Managers. He was named three times named Company Grade Officer of the Quarter and the 2016 Company Grade Officer of the Year.

In 2018, LT Gilg transferred to the Naval Aerospace and Operational Physiology community.  While stationed at Aviation Survival Training Center Pensacola from 2018 to 2020, he was named Naval Survival Training Institute Officer Instructor of the Year.  Currently, LT Gilg serves as the Aeromedical Safety Officer for Marine Aircraft Group 24.

LT Matt Carnal
Nexus Editor

LT Matt Carnal was born and raised in the small town of Parsons, Kansas where he spent the majority of his youth playing baseball and riding his bicycle. In 1997 he moved to Wichita, Kansas to study at Newman College (now Newman University) where he acquired a dual BS in Biology and Chemistry while playing baseball all four years. He currently holds the school record for hit by pitches, is the last Jet to hit for the cycle, and finished his senior season with a .421 batting average. The summer following his time at Newman he played in the NBC World Series where he helped lead his team to a 3rd place in the tournament, boasting a .321 average for the summer before hanging up his cleats to accept a job at Koch Industries. 


At Koch Industries Carnal spent 5 years in a R&D lab studying surfactant chemistry and he also obtained a Masters in Economics from Wichita State University. Though the work was plentiful, Matt's life outside of work was filled with rock climbing and mountaineering trips to Colorado (spawned from volunteering at the Kansas Cliff Club), with endless hours of commuting and riding his bicycle around the flint hills of Kansas, where he fell in love with endurance sports. In 2005, Koch divested the division he was working for to SemGroup in Tulsa, OK, where he helped move the laboratory and continued his supervisory role before moving into an Economic Analyst position. In this position he was granted the autonomy to search for ways to unlock efficiencies and drive profits in unexplored markets while leading the firm to motivate athletic healthy lifestyle choices. In 2008 the economic collapse resulted in the layoff of 1,300 of 2,000 employees, and Matt was one of them.


Unsure of where to head next, Matt spent some time thinking about what to do while continuing to train for endurance sports. Pivoting from the oil and gas industry he headed to Colorado Springs, CO to explore the world of endurance sports and live the Colorado lifestyle. After a career-ending shoulder surgery he settled into coaching endurance sports and has been coaching for the past decade. He has helped all levels of athletes, from couch to Ironman, and he has coached both individuals and sports teams. During his coaching career he has ridden across the United States twice to test his personal physiological limits. The second trip was on a fixed gear bicycle, self-contained, in only twenty-one days.


Eager to enhance his expertise in endurance sports and environmental physiology, he returned to school in 2015 and acquired a Masters in Exercise Science from Colorado State University. This education led to his entrance into the NAOP community. Matt is looking forward to learning more about the community and providing mentorship to the enlisted men and women in the fleet. Outside of work, Matt spends countless hours in the great outdoors hiking, climbing, and riding his bicycle alongside his beautiful wife Marissa Metz. 


Sniff Sniff

LT Tyler “Sniffles” Grubic
Nexus Assistant Editor
LT Derik “Tum Tum” Kinkaid
Nexus Assistant Editor

Lieutenant (LT) Derik Kincaid is a native of Kansas City, MO.  He received a Bachelor of Science Degree in Nutrition and Exercise Physiology from The University of Missouri, and a Master’s in Nutrition and Exercise Physiology, also from The University of Missouri.


In 2019 LT Kincaid earned a Direct Commission into the Medical Service Corps and subsequently reported to Officer Development School (ODS) in Newport, RI.  Following ODS, he continued his training at the Naval Aviation Medical Institute in Pensacola, FL where he completed Aeromedical Officer Training and Aviation Pre-Flight indoctrination.  In June of 2020 he earned his Naval Aerospace and Operational Physiologist (NAOP) Wings as NAOP #367.


Upon graduation, LT Kincaid reported to Naval Air Station Pensacola, Florida where he completed his first tour at the Aviation Survival Training Center (ASTC). While at the ASTC he served as the Training and Operations Division Officer, supporting 5,200 aircrew annually. He will begin his first fleet tour in at MAG 29 beginning in May 2022.

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LT "Angus" Milam

LT Chad "Angus" Milam

Airborne Command Control & Logistics Wing

NAS Norfolk, VA

Chad A. Milam is a born and raised Texan. Considers Corpus Christi, Texas to be his hometown though he spent many years in the mountains of Alpine, Texas. He graduated from the Vancouver Institute of Media Art, Vancouver, British Columbia in 2008. He completed a Bachelor of Science in Biology from the University of Texas, San Antonio, in 2015. Master of Science in Biology with an emphasis in Neuroscience from the University of Texas, San Antonio, in 2016 and a graduate certificate in Space Sciences in 2021.

Milam received his direct commission as a Lieutenant Junior Grade in the U.S. Navy in March 2018. He attended Officer Development School in Newport, Rhode Island. He completed the Student Naval Aerospace and Operational Physiologist program at the Navy Aerospace Medical Institute in Pensacola, Florida. Milam completed primary flight training for aeromedical officers with VT-3 and advanced rotary training with HT-18 at Naval Air Station Whiting Field, Milton, Florida. He was designated Naval Aerospace and Operational Physiologist #359 February 2019.


LT Milam served as Division Officer at the Aviation Survival Training Center in Jacksonville, Florida 2019-2021. He now serves as the Aeromedical Safety Department Head for the Airborne Command Control and Logistics Wing based out of Pt. Mugu, CA and Norfolk, VA. 

LCDR Hadley “PUG” Sulpizio

LCDR Sulpizio hails from Sacramento, California. She graduated and commissioned from the esteemed United States Naval Academy on 28 May 2010 with a Bachelor of Science in Chemistry.  

She winged as NAOP #320 on 3 February 2012.  LCDR Sulpizio served her first tour at ASTC Lemoore where she ultimately served as the Interim Director and qualified as the last Navy High Acceleration Centrifuge Instructor. In 2015 she graduated from the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences as a Master in Public Health.  From 2015-2019 she served as Aeromedical Program Manager of Helicopter Sea Combat Wing in Norfolk, VA where she was selected the 2017 Aerospace Physiologist of the Year. From 2019-2021 she served at Training Air Wing Five as the Aeromedical Program Manager for in Milton, Florida.


She currently serves at Navy Medicine Operational Command, Naval Survival Training Institute Detachment as the Director of Education and Training in Pensacola, Florida. 

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This is my bio. There are many like it but this one is mine. My bio is my purpose, my purpose is my bio. 

LT Tristan “Frozone” Alston
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CDR(ret) Sue “Cyclone” Jay

Commander (ret.) Jay is a native of Waterloo, Iowa. She earned a B.S . in Exercise Science from the University of Iowa, an M.S . in Physical Education from the University of South Carolina, and a Ph.D. in Kinesiology/neuromuscular physiology and statistics/research design, from the University of Texas at Austin. She worked as an Adjunct Professor/Research Associate for the University of Texas at Austin before entering the Navy.


CDR Jay served over 21 years in the Medical Service Corps as a Radiation Health Officer and Naval Aerospace Operational Physiologist. She served in a variety of shipboard, clinic, and operational tours with the Navy and Marine Corps. CDR Jay has over 15 years of experience as an aerospace physiologist, aviation safety officer, and aircraft accident investigator with tactical jet and rotary wing flight experience. She served as the Director of Aviation Survival Training Center, Jacksonville, FL. Her operational tours include Marine Aircraft Group 31, Beaufort, SC; Fourth Marine Air Wing, New Orleans, LA; Safety Officer / Aeromedical Safety Officer for the Naval Aviation Warfighting Development Center, Fallon, NV; and Force Physiologist / Aeromedical Safety Officer to Commander, Naval Air Force, U.S. Pacific Fleet in San Diego, CA until her retirement from active duty naval service in August 2018.


CDR (ret.) Jay currently works for the Federal Aviation Administration’s (FAA) Civil Aerospace Medical Institute (CAMI) in Oklahoma City, OK as a Research Physiologist and Team Lead for the Aerospace and Environmental Physiology Research Laboratory.