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Rear Admiral Steephen E. Mehling assumed the duties of Director for Joint Interagency Task Force (JIATF) South in June of 2013.
His prior Flag assignments include Director of Operations, Coast Guard Atlantic Area and Commander of the Fourteenth District. As Director of Operations, he oversaw Coast Guard missions with a span of control
that extended from the Rocky Mountains to the Arabian Gulf and reached across five Coast Guard Districts and 40 states. As Commander of the Fourteenth Coast Guard District, Rear Admiral Mehling was responsible
for all Coast Guard operations throughout 12.2M sq. miles of the Pacific including Hawaii, Guam, and American Samoa.
Rear Admiral Mehling is a career aviator with 17 years of operational flying experience at air stations on the East Coast, West Coast, and Gulf Coast. He had air station command tours in Houston, TX and Miami, FL,
where he directed fixed and rotary wing aircraft operations throughout the Southeast U.S. and the Caribbean, including oversight of the Coast Guard’s support detachment in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. Between aviation
assignments, he served 9 years in program oversight and personnel management duties in Washington, DC, including service as the Chief of Officer Personnel Management, Deputy Chief of Aviation Forces, and Shipboard-Helicopter
Platform Manager. During these assignments, he directed the shipboard testing of the HH-60J helicopter aboard Coast Guard cutters, participated in the Commission on Roles and Missions of the Armed Forces, and was presented the
DOT Secretary's Team Award for his leadership of the Aviation Resource Modeling Team.
Rear Admiral Mehling received his commission in 1980. His first assignment was as a Deck Watch Officer and as the Operations Officer aboard CGC SWEETGUM. Following this tour afloat, he attended flight training in Pensacola, FL in
1982 and was designated a Coast Guard aviator in 1983. Rear Admiral Mehling holds a Bachelor of Science degree with high honors in Mathematics from the Coast Guard Academy and a Master of Science degree in Management from the
University of Maryland. He has attended the Asia-Pacific Center for Security Studies in Honolulu and was a member of the U.S. delegation to the Pacific Islands Forum in Cairns, Australia.
Rear Admiral Mehling’s personal awards include the Legion of Merit, four Meritorious Service Medals with Operational Device, two Air Medals, two Coast Guard Commendation Medals with Operational Device, the 9-11 Medal and numerous
other team, unit, and individual awards.
Brigadier General Steven J. DePalmer assumed the duties of Deputy Director for Joint Interagency Task Force South in August of 2012.
His previous general officer tours included Vice Commander, 14th Air Force and Deputy Commander & Chief of Staff of the NATO Joint Warfare Centre.
A native of Manchester, Maryland, he is a 1985 Distinguished Graduate of the U.S. Air Force Academy with a degree in Electrical Engineering. He attended the NATO Defense College, Air Command and Staff College and has a
Master of Airpower Arts and Science Degree from the School of Advanced Airpower Studies.
A command pilot with more than 3,000 hours in the F-15C, F-15E, AT-38B, T-38 and T-37, he served as an instructor pilot and squadron weapons officer. He commanded the 494th Fighter squadron, Royal Air Force, Lakenheath, England;
the 32nd Air Operations Group, Ramstein Air Base, Germany and the 53rd Wing, Eglin Air Force Base, Florida.
Brigadier General DePalmer’s awards include the Defense Superior Service Medal, the Legion of Merit and the Distinguished Flying Cross.
Mr. John Murphy Jr. assumed the duties of Vice Director for Joint Interagency Task Force South in October of 2010. Mr. Murphy’s previous command assignment was served as the Director of Air Operations, San Diego from April of 2005
to October of 2010 from which he integrated and coordinated CBP air and marine forces to detect, interdict, and prevent acts of terrorism within his area of responsibility of the San Diego Sector and Eastern California Desert areas
arising from unlawful movement of people, illegal drugs and other contraband moving toward or crossing the Southwest Border of the United States. The San Diego Air and Marine Branch was awarded Top Unit in 2006 from CBP Air and Marine,
and received the Commissioner’s Top Unit Award in 2007. In 2009, the San Diego Air and Marine Branch seized over 1.2 million pounds of marijuana, cocaine, methamphetamines and other illicit drugs.
A native of Massachusetts, Mr. Murphy graduated from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst and was commissioned a 2nd Lieutenant in the United States Marine Corps in 1988, graduated The Basic School, Quantico in 1989, and graduated
naval flight school at NAS Whiting Field in 1991. Early aviation tours as a CH-53E Helicopter Superstallion Pilot with Marine Heavy Helicopter Squadron 462 and Marine Medium Helicopter Squadron 163 at Tustin California, he gained global
operational experience with the 11th Marine Expeditionary Unit (Special Operations Capable). In 1993 and 1994 Mr. Murphy served in combat operations over Mogadishu, Somalia as well as evacuation support of the U.S. Embassy Rwanda, Africa.
In 1996 Mr. Murphy joined the U.S. Customs Service and was assigned to the Caribbean Air and Marine Branch and through patrol operations was directly responsible for the hands-on detection, apprehension and seizure of numerous multi ton loads
of contraband as well as the arrests of criminals involved with the smuggling activities. In March of 2000, Mr. Murphy was reassigned to the Southwest Border serving with the San Diego Air and Marine Branch as a Customs Pilot and participated
in numerous operations such as Halcon, Mexico and Air Bridge Denial, Columbia. In 2003, Mr. Murphy was promoted to Aviation Group Supervisor with P-3 Center East, Jacksonville Florida and led numerous P-3 detachments to various Forward
Operating Locations throughout Central and South America to conduct counter narcotic defense in depth flight-operations within the source, transit and arrival zones. In 2005, Mr. Murphy was selected as Director of Air Operations San Diego,
one of Customs and Border Protection’s largest and most active air operations in the country.
Mr. Murphy was accepted and attended a Fellowship at the Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University in June of 2007. He graduated from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst with a Bachelor degree in Legal Studies in 1988. Mr. Murphy
is a graduate from the Federal Law Enforcement Training Center Criminal Investigator and Basic Agent Courses. Mr. Murphy has been formally trained by the U. S. Marine Corps in Command and Control at the Command and Staff school located in
Quantico, Virginia. Mr. Murphy has accumulated over 4000 hours of flight time in numerous high performance fixed and rotary wing aircraft to include the CH-53 Superstallion, UH-60 Black Hawk, C-550 Jet, AS-350 Astar, C-12C/M King Air and N-22
Nomad. Additionally, Mr. Murphy retired from the U. S. Marine Corps Reserves as a Lieutenant Colonel completing 20 years of service with Heavy Marine Helicopter Squadron 769 and the 4th Marine Aircraft Wing Inspector General.
Mr. Murphy has been recognized by numerous awards, including the U. S. Customs Meritorious Service Award for Valor, Federal Law Enforcement Association Medal for Bravery, Navy Achievement Medal, Marine Corps and Navy Expeditionary Medals, Customs
and Border Protection Unit Citations, and Sikorsky Rescue Award.
Colonel James R. Bortree is the Commander, Air Forces Southern Combined Air and Space Operations Center (AFSOUTH CAOC), Headquarters Twelfth Air Force (AFSOUTH), Davis-Monthan AFB, Arizona. The AFSOUTH CAOC is responsible for the mission to plan,
task, execute, monitor, and assess air, space, and information operations in the US Southern Command area of focus. The AFSOUTH CAOC is comprised of the Combat Operations Division, Combat Plans Division, Strategy Division, Air Mobility Division,
and Intelligence, Reconnaissance, and Surveillance Division, as well as Weather, Communications, and Information Operations Specialty Teams. Before assuming his current position, Colonel Bortree served as the Chief, Combat Plans Division, Combined
Air and Space Operations Center for United States Central Air Forces. During this period, he was responsible for daily air planning for Operation IRAQI FREEDOM, NEW DAWN, ENDURING FREEDOM, and Combined Joint Task Force Horn of Africa.
Colonel Bortree graduated from California State University Northridge, with a degree in Electrical Engineering in 1989. He has served as a B-52 navigator, instructor navigator, instructor radar, flight commander, and the Wing Weapons Officer. He
graduated from the USAF Weapons Instructor Course in 1999. In 2002, he became the Chief of Doctrine, Policy, and Tactics for Air Force Information Operations. After completing Naval Postgraduate School in 2005, he attended the School of Advanced
Air and Space Studies. In 2006, he was assigned as the Chief of Long Range Plans and Strategy for US Central Air Forces, Shaw AFB, SC. He then assumed command of the 2nd Operational Support Squadron in March 2008. After completing his fellowship
at the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy in June of 2010, Colonel Bortree was assigned to the Combat Plans Division, 609th Combined Air and Space Operations Center.
Colonel Bortree is married to the former Beth Horsager of Bismarck, ND. They have two children, Emma and JR.
Master Chief Daryl Bletso assumed the duties of the Command Master Chief for the JIATF South, Key West, FL, in August of 2012. As the Senior Enlisted Advisor to the Director and staff of JIATF South, Master Chief advises on workforce policies, is
the senior enlisted mentor, and acts as the sounding board for select administrative actions and initiatives relative to the day to day operations with the joint command structure. Most recently Master Chief served as the Command Master Chief for
the C4IT Service Center, Alexandria, VA from June 2009 through July 2012.
Master Chief Bletso enlisted in the Coast Guard in 1983 from Louisville, KY. His numerous assignments include: ET Rating Force Master Chief, CGHQ Washington, DC, TISCOM Alexandria VA, CGC POLAR STAR Seattle WA, Navigation Center Alexandria VA, Engineering
Logistics Center Baltimore MD, CGC TAHOMA New Bedford MA, TRACEN Petaluma as an ET School instructor, Navy Advanced Electronics “B” School San Diego CA, LORAN Station Estartit Spain, LORAN Station Attu Island AK, ET “A” School Governors Island NY, and CGC
JARVIS Honolulu HI.
Master Chief Bletso is a graduate of the Navy Senior Enlisted Academy (SEA), Class 104, in Newport, RI, the Senior Enlisted Leadership Course (SELC) in New London, CT, and the National Defense University Keystone Course, class 12-1. Master Chief Bletso
holds an Associate of Arts Degree in Electronics Technology.
During his aviation career Master Chief Murphy has logged just under 5000 flight hours on HC-130H aircraft.
Master Chief Bletso’s numerous military awards include two Coast Guard Meritorious Service Medals, one Coast Guard Commendation Medal, three Coast Guard Achievement Medals, two Commandant’s Letter of Commendation Ribbons, and the Coast Guard Permanent Cutterman’s Pin.