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Command Biographies
VMM-263 Commanding Officer
Lieutenant Colonel Sean F. Rafferty

Lieutenant Colonel Rafferty is a native of New Jersey.  After graduating from The Citadel, he was commissioned a Second Lieutenant through Officer Candidate Course in 2005.  Following commissioning, he reported to The Basic School (TBS) in Quantico, Virginia for initial officer training.  After completion of TBS, he reported to Naval Air Station Pensacola, Florida for flight training and was designated a Naval Aviator in September 2008. Subsequently, Lieutenant Colonel Rafferty reported to Marine Medium Helicopter Training Squadron 164 (HMMT-164) “Knight Riders” aboard Camp Pendleton, California for training in the CH-46E and was designated a second helicopter second pilot in January 2009.

In February 2009, Lieutenant Colonel Rafferty reported to Marine Medium Helicopter Squadron 165 (HMM-165) “White Knights” aboard Marine Corps Air Station (MCAS) Miramar, California. During this period, he deployed in support of the 15th Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU) to the Central Command (CENTCOM) area-of-responsibility, and twice in support of Operation ENDURING FREEDOM (OEF).  Upon return of the 15th MEU, HMM-165 transitioned from the CH-46E to the MV-22B and was redesignated Marine Medium Tiltrotor Squadron 165 (VMM-165).  Lieutenant Colonel Rafferty completed transition training to the MV-22B and was designated a tiltrotor second pilot in August 2011.  His first deployment to OEF was in 2012 with 3rd Marine Air Wing Forward (III MAW (FWD)) in the G-3 Operations Division, and his second OEF deployment was with VMM-165 in 2013. Lieutenant Colonel Rafferty had the opportunity to serve in various billets in both the Operations and Maintenance Departments and receive flight designations to include Weapons and Tactics Instructor (WTI) and Air Mission Commander (AMC) during his tenure with VMM-165.

In March 2015, Lieutenant Colonel Rafferty was transferred to Marine Medium Tiltrotor Squadron 268 (VMM-268) “Red Dragons” aboard MCAS Miramar.  He served as the Assistant Operations Officer and deployed in support of the Special Purpose Marine Air Ground Task Force - Crisis Response - CENTCOM (SPMAGTF-CR-CC) 16.1, in support of Operation INHERENT RESOLVE.

In July 2016, Lieutenant Colonel Rafferty reported to Marine Helicopter Squadron One (HMX-1) “Nighthawks” aboard MCB Quantico, Virginia. During this time, he served in the Operations Department, was designated a White House Tiltrotor Aircraft Commander, and served as a White House Liaison Officer.

In September 2019, Lieutenant Colonel Rafferty received orders to report to Marine Medium Tiltrotor Squadron 263 “Thunder Chickens” (VMM-263) aboard MCAS New River, North Carolina.  Upon arrival at VMM-263 he served as the Operations Officer and deployed in support of the SPMAGTF - Crisis Response - AFRICOM (CR-AF) 20.1, and as the squadron Executive Officer until transferring in the summer of 2021 to assume the role of Marine Aircraft Group 26 (MAG-26) Operations Officer. 

In June 2022, Lieutenant Colonel Rafferty reported to the office of the Chief of Naval Operations, Pentagon Washington D.C. serving as a Marine liaison officer in the Operations, Plans, and Strategy (N3/N5) Division for service integration policy. 

Lieutenant Colonel Rafferty has logged over 2300 military flight hours, including over 1600 hours in the MV-22. He has been privileged to serve in commands awarded both Navy Unit Commendation and Meritorious Unit Commendations. Personal decorations include the Meritorious Service Medal with gold star, Air Medal Individual Action, Air Medal with Strike Flight Numeral “5”, Navy Marine Corps Commendation Medal with two gold stars, and the Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal.