NHA BOD, NHA Lifetime Member #4, R-13762

CAPTAIN ARNE JOHN NELSON, United States Navy (Ret.)

Captain Nelson, of Tucson, Arizona, is a 1974 graduate of the University of New Mexico, commissioned under the NROTC program.  He was designated a Naval Aviator in January 1976, earning Rotary Wing # 13,762. He retired from the Navy in August 2005 after 31 years 3 months and 13 days of continuous active service.

Sea duty assignments included tours in Helicopter Mine Counter Measures Squadron Twelve (HM-12), HM-16 (plank owner), Helicopter Combat Support Squadron Four (HC-4, plank owner), HM-12 Sea Detachment, and HC-2 (plank owner). He is entitled to wear the Command at Sea insignia for command of Helicopter Combat Support Squadron Four (HC-4) during the Gulf War when the squadron won the Atlantic Fleet Battle E in wartime.

Ashore, he served as a flight instructor in Helicopter Mine Countermeasures Squadron Twelve (FRS).  He is entitled to wear the Command Ashore insignia for command of Naval Air Station Sigonella, Italy, where his base earned the Commander in Chief’s Installation Excellence Award as the Navy’s best base for 2000.  He served as the Executive Assistant to the Director for Operations of Commander, USACOM, on the staff of the Chief of Naval Operations as the Current Joint Operations and Plans and ATFP Branch head (N312), and as Chief of Staff, Commander U. S. Naval Forces Europe. 

Captain Nelson was the 1991 recipient of the Navy League of the United States Stephen F. Decatur Award for Operational Competence.  He is authorized to wear the Defense Superior Service Medal, Legion of Merit with three gold stars, Defense Meritorious Service Medal, Meritorious Service Medal, Navy Commendation Medal and Navy Achievement Medal with a gold star as well as several unit commendations and campaign medals. He accumulated over 3500 flight hours, mostly in CH-53E and RH-53D helicopters.

Captain Nelson holds a Master of Science in Systems Management from the University of Southern California.  He is a graduate of the Armed Forces Staff College and holds a Master of Arts in National Security from the U. S. Naval War College. He was a 1995/96 Navy Federal Executive Fellow at Harvard University’s JFK School of Government. He earned three JPME’s and was a designated JSO. He earned a Certificate in Children’s Book Writing from UCSD in 2021.

After the Navy, Captain Nelson served the community as CEO of two Catholic Charities organizations (twice awarded 50 best Non-profits to work for in the US) and the San Diego USO. After twelve years of not-for-profit leadership, he retired in 2017. He volunteers with the USS Midway Museum Library, the Naval Helicopter Association as President of the Scholarship Fund and serves on the board of the Navy Safe Harbor Foundation.

He is married to the former Deborah Smith of Tucson, Arizona. They are the parents of a son, Andrew, and a daugh



Retired Affairs Director, Naval Helicopter Association (NHA), NHA Trustee, Vice President, NHA Historical Society, Exec Committee, NHA Scholarship Fund

Naval Helicopter Association (NHA) Trustee LTM #70  R-12230

CDR Mike Brattland was born in Glendale, California and grew up in Carmichael, California. He graduated from Del Campo High School, Fair Oakes, California in 1966 and the Humboldt State University, Arcata, California in June, 1970. In 1993, he graduated from Webster University, St Louis, Missouri with a MA in Business Administration.

In June 1971, CDR Brattland reported to Aviation Officer Candidate School at NAS Pensacola, Florida, getting his commission as an Ensign in November, 1971 after completing his solo flight in the T-34B at VT-1, NAS Saufley Field, Pensacola, FL and receiving his wings at HT-18 NAS Ellyson Field, Pensacola, Florida on August 25, 1972. CDR Brattland was Navy Helicopter Designator Number R-12230 and Naval Helicopter Association (NHA) Lifetime Member Number #70.   CDR Brattland was assigned to Helicopter Anti-Submarine Squadron TEN (HS-10) aboard Naval Air Station, Imperial Beach, CA. In April 1973, he joined Helicopter Anti-Submarine Squadron TWO (HS-2) where he flew the SH-3A/D/G Model Sea King helicopters and served as Communications Officer, Legal Officer and Line Division Officer while completing multiple CV detachments and a squadron deployment with CVW-14 on USS Enterprise CVAN-65 from September 1974 till May,1975 including Operation Frequent Wind, the evacuation of Saigon.

In 1976, CDR Brattland was assigned as the Officer Programs Officer for Navy Recruiting District Albany, New York where he flew the Navy T-34B Mentor as part of his recruiting officer duties. In October, 1978, CDR Brattland was sent to 737 Naval Air Squadron (737 NAS) Royal Naval Air Station, Portland, Dorset, UK as an exchange officer where he flew the Westland Wessex HAS MK III ASW helicopter, deploying aboard HMS Antrim (D-18), a guided missile cruiser, as a member of HMS Antrim D-18 Flight as the P2, making a 7 month deployment to the Far East including an official ship visit to Shanghi, China in September, 1980.

In April 1981, CDR Brattland was assigned to Helicopter Anti-Submarine Squadron TEN (HS-10) as a flight instructor working in the Mediated Training Department where he instructed on the SH-3H Sea King helicopter. In January, 1984 CDR Brattland joined Helicopter Anti-Submarine Squadron EIGHT (HS-8) flying SH-3H Sea King helicopters during deployment to the Indian Ocean with CVW-9 aboard USS Ranger CV-61 as Safety Officer. In 1985 as Operations Officer for HS-8 CDR Brattland deployed as part of CVW-14 on USS Constellation CV-64 to the Indian Ocean. CDR Brattland was OIC for two additional HS-8 Det 1 detachments of six weeks each with a single SH-3H Sea King helicopter on USS Kinkaid (DD-965) and USS Hewitt (DD-966) to the northern Pacific Ocean.

CDR Brattland was assigned to CNO OP-953 in April 1986 where he was the class desk officer for all Navy Warfare Publications. In April, 1988 CDR Brattland was assigned to USS Constellation CV-64 as Safety Officer where he made a deployment to the Indian Ocean in December, 1988 followed by USS Constellation entering Philadelphia Naval Shipyard, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in April, 1990 after going around the horn from San Diego.

In July, 1990 CDR Brattland was assigned as Executive Officer of Naval Personnel Research and Development Center, Point Loma, California. CDR Brattland retired from the Navy July, 1993.

After retirement, CDR Brattland worked in the transportation industry including automotive salvage auctions Insurance Auto Auctions/COPART, towing, electrical safety certification, toll road industry, auto transport industry and the Naval Helicopter Association (NHA)/ Naval Helicopter Association Historical Society (NHASF) and Naval Helicopter Association Scholarship Fund (NHASF) as Retired Affairs Director and webmaster.  He is also President of the Theta Epsilon Alumni Association (TKE) of Humboldt State University and a lifelong car guy including the Over The Hill Gang San Diego, West Coast Willys Club, Good Ole Boys San Diego and Ford 6V Carburetion Systems. He has life long historical interests in the Georgetown Divide area of El Dorado County and Eldorado National Forest, California.

CDR Brattland’ personal decorations include the Meritorious Service Medal (two awards), Navy Commendation Medal and other service awards. CDR Brattland amassed over 2000 flight hours in the SH-3 Sea King helicopter and over 3300 total flight hours. CDR Brattland was married to Patricia Ann Murphy Brattland and they have three children, Jon, Alan and Elizabeth. Patricia Brattland passed away in 2014. CDR Brattland has remarried in 2015 to Catherine Denise Walsh Brattland who has a son Robert. All four children are married including three grandchildren.