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Captain Karnes, of Fort Lauderdale, Florida, enlisted in the Navy as an Electronics Technician in 1980. Awarded a Fleet scholarship, he graduated from the University of Florida in December 1987 with a BS in Building Construction. In September 1989 he completed pilot training and was designated a Naval Aviator, flying the SH-60B Seahawk (LAMPS Mk III) maritime attack helicopter.
He has served in operational flying assignments with HSLs: 45, 51 (Forward Deployed Naval Forces, Japan) and 37, embarked aboard USS HEWITT (DD 966) for DESERT STORM, USS KITTY HAWK (CV 63), USS RODNEY M. DAVIS (FFG 60), USS CUSHING (DD 985), USS VINCENNES (CG 49), and USS CHANCELLORSVILLE (CG 62).
Other sea duty assignments include Mini Boss aboard USS TARAWA (LHA-1), and following Command of the EasyRiders, he assumed the duties as Executive Officer of USS NASSAU (LHA-4), deploying in support of IRAQI FREEDOM.
Shore duties include a rewarding tour as a FRS flight instructor with HSL-41 and a tour with the Navy Personnel Command/PERS 43 as the Combat Helicopter Placement Officer and later the assistant captain detailer. Additionally, he enjoyed a joint tour with U.S. Space Command as Chief Joint Space Support Team (J36) and Deputy Director Technical Network Information Operations (J39), supporting NOBLE EAGLE, ENDURING FREEDOM and IRAQI FREEDOM.
As Commanding Officer of the EasyRiders, he was privileged to lead HSL-37 with deployed combat-ready LAMPS detachments to the Third, Fifth and Seventh Fleets.
Captain Karnes assumed Command of the SH-60B & MH-60R Fleet Readiness Squadron (FRS), the Air Wolves of HSM-40 in August 2008. During this tour he integrated the introduction the MH60 Romeo into the East Coast Fleet.
In 2014 Commodore Karnes, as Commander of Amphibious Squadron SIX led the BATAAN Amphibious Ready Group’s nine-month deployment, comprised of over 4000 Sailors and Marines, to the Fifth and Sixth Fleets for of Operation Inherent Resolve / Counter ISIL.
Captain Karnes has earned master’s degrees in Security Management with an emphasis in Computer Network Defense from Webster University (2000), and an MS in National Resource Strategy, with a concentration in Information Operations, from The National Defense University (ICAF 2011).