Admiral Mark Fitzgerald is commander of U.S. naval forces in Europe and Africa. He is responsible for providing overall command, operational control, and coordination of U.S. naval forces in the European and African Command area of responsibility. As commander of Allied Joint Force Command Naples, Admiral Fitzgerald currently has operational responsibility for NATO missions in the Balkans, Iraq, and the Mediterranean. He assumed his duties on November 30, 2007. Admiral Fitzgerald graduated from Northeastern University, Boston. He holds a master's degree in aeronautical systems engineering from the University of West Florida and attended the Naval War College, Newport, Rhode Island. He was designated a naval aviator in October 1975. He flew the A-7E Corsair II during sea assignments in VA-195 (1976-1979), Carrier Air Wing 17 (1982-1984), and VA-105 (1985-1988) embarked aboard USS Kitty Hawk (CV 63), USS America (CV 66), and USS Forrestal (CV 59). He led the first Navy strike on Baghdad during the opening hour of Operation Desert Storm. Fitzgerald’s awards include the Navy Distinguished Service Medal, Defense Superior Service Medal, Legion of Merit (four awards), Distinguished Flying Cross with Combat V (two awards), Bronze Star, Defense Meritorious Service Medal (two awards), Air Medals, and numerous individual, campaign, and unit awards. He has logged over 4,800 flight hours and has made over 1,100 carrier arrested landings from the decks of 13 aircraft carriers.