Commander Sutherland enlisted in the United States Naval Air Reserve in November 1970. His enlisted tours include: AIMD onboard the USS INDEPENDENCE (CV-62) deployed to the Mediterranean in 1973, 1974 and 1975; AIMD, Naval Station Roosevelt Roads PR 1975-1979; AIMD, USS GUADALCANAL (LPH-7) deployed to the Mediterranean and Indian Ocean in 1980 and 1981; VAW-123 “Screwtops” deployed onboard USS AMERICA (CV-66) to the North Atlantic for Northern Wedding in 1982 and to the Mediterranean and Indian Ocean in 1982-1983. During this tour in the Screwtops he was selected for Chief Petty Officer in July 1982. Transferring to Naval Air Maintenance Training Group HQ in October 1983, he was selected for Senior Chief in 1985 and as a Limited Duty Officer in 1986 and was commissioned 1 November 1987.
Commander Sutherland’s first assignment after commissioning was the VFA-106 “Gladiators”, the Atlantic Fleet FA-18 Fleet Replacement squadron at NAS Cecil Field FL. While in VFA-106, he served as the Aircraft, Line, Material, and Maintenance Control Officer. In 1990 he transferred to VFA-137 as MMCO and made an extended deployment in support of Operations Desert Storm and Provide Comfort onboard USS FORRESTAL (CV-59). After return from this deployment he spearheaded the homeport change of the Kestrels from NAS Cecil Field to NAS Lemoore in October 1992, shortly thereafter transitioning from Lot VIII FA-18As to Lot XV FA-18Cs. In May 1993 the squadron deployed in USS CONSTELLATION (CV-64) with CVW-2 during the ship’s “Round the Horn” sail from Mayport to San Diego.
In October 1993 he transferred to the Staff of CLAW ONE, which was redesignated as Commander Strike Fighter Wing Atlantic. Commander Sutherland served as the FA-18 Aircraft Readiness Officer, traveling to Switzerland as part of the cadre of USN personnel developing the Swiss FA-18 maintenance training program and was the action officer for the introduction of the FA-18A in the adversary role with the VF-45 Blackbirds at NAS Key West.
In 1996, he reported to the Wildcats of VFA-131 as MMCO and completed an around the world deployment in USS JOHN C STENNIS (CVN-74) with CVW-7 supporting Operation Southern Watch. Upon return from deployment in August 1998, he initiated the first FA-18 squadron homeport change in December 1998 to NAS Oceana as part of the BRAC closure of NAS Cecil Field. Completing this tour as AMO, he transferred to VFA-106 in September 1999.
As Maintenance Officer of the Gladiators, Commander Sutherland was instrumental in establishing a Joint VF-101/VFA-106 Air to Air FRS maintenance detachment at NAF Key West. . During his tenure, the Gladiators were awarded the 2000 CNO Safety “S” and were the top FA-18 FRS in pilot production for FY 2000 and 2001.
In December 2001, he reported to CVW-3 as CAGMO. His eleventh and final deployment with CVW-3 was onboard USS HARRY S TRUMAN (CVN-75) deployed to the Mediterranean in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom. During combat operations over Northern Iraq CVW-3 expended more than 700 tons of ordnance, which was the most dropped among the six different Air wings supporting OIF and flew a 100% sortie completion rate. Additionally Airwing Three squadrons garnered all 6 Atlantic Fleet Type Wing Battle Efficiency awards for CY 2003.
In January 2004 he reported to NAVAIRSYSCOM as the E-2C/C-2A Assistant Program Manager for Logistics (APML). As APML he was directly responsible for the entire logistics support organization for the Navy’s fleet of 69 E-2C and 35 C-2A aircraft as well as over 35 E-2 FMS aircraft. During this tour he was instrumental in establishing significant cost wise readiness initiatives.
Completing his acquisition tour in Oct 2005, CDR Sutherland reported as the S-3 Wing MO at Commander Sea Control Wing Atlantic. He was the driving force in the installation of the LANTIRN system on the S-3B for GWOT deployment. His leadership of cost reduction measures during the S-3 Sundown returned over $27 million dollars to Naval Aviation Enterprise. He retired in April 2008 after completing 35 years of active duty.
Commander Sutherland’s decorations and awards include: Five Meritorious Service Medals, six Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medals, the Navy Achievement Medal, Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal, two Navy Expeditionary Medals, Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, Global War on Terrorism Expeditionary Medal, Humanitarian Service Medal,
Three National Defense Service Medals, Battle Efficiency Award, five Meritorious Unit Commendations, eight Sea Service Deployment ribbons and various other campaign and service awards.
Commander Sutherland is married to the former Judith Mullin of Boscawen, New Hampshire. They have two grown children, Jennifer and Michael.