Cmdr. Matthew Pawlenko, a native of Evergreen Park, Illinois, graduated from Purdue University in 2002 with a Bachelor of Science in Electrical Engineering Technology. He also earned his Master of Science in Meteorology and Oceanography from the Naval Postgraduate School in 2011.
He commissioned through Naval ROTC directly into the Oceanography community and reported to the Naval Meteorology and Oceanography Professional Development Center, completing Basic Oceanography Officer Accession Training in 2002.
His operational tours include serving as a geospatial information and services (GI&S) officer at Fleet Survey Team; unmanned aerial vehicle officer in charge (OIC) at Naval Special Warfare Group 1; Cross Functional Troop 1 technical special reconnaissance OIC at Naval Special Warfare Support Activity 1; and battle watch captain, staff meteorology and oceanography officer and future operations officer, Carrier Strike Group 8, embarked aboard USS Dwight D. Eisenhower (CVN 69).
Ashore, he commanded Center for Naval Aviation Technical Training Unit, Keesler. Additional shore and staff assignments include watch officer at Fleet Weather Center, San Diego; training and operations officer at Naval Oceanography Special Warfare Center; oceanography assignments and placement officer at Naval Personnel Command; and chief of future intelligence capabilities branch and theater GI&S officer at Headquarters, U.S. European Command, Intelligence Directorate.
Pawlenko reported as executive officer, Fleet Weather Center Norfolk in August, 2020. His military decorations include the Defense Meritorious Service Medal, Meritorious Service Medal (two awards), Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medal (four awards), Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal (three awards) and various service, unit and campaign awards.