CNSWC Honors Naval Aviator Killed in San Diego

SAN DIEGO, Calif. A memorial service was held to honor and remember Lieutenant Commander James “Jim” V. Celani, Jr. at the Naval Amphibious Base chapel June 16, 2017 in Coronado, Calif.

Celani died after being taken to a local hospital with gunshot wounds the night of Saturday, June 10th. He was assigned to Naval Special Warfare command headquarters.

During the service, NSW extended condolences and deepest sympathies to the family, friends, and co-workers in this tragic loss and paid tribute to his service and remembered the loving husband, father, son and brother he was known to be.

Lieutenant Cmdr. James Vincent Celani Jr.

“Jim was a career Naval Aviator who devoted more than twenty years of selfless service to our nation.  We grieve his sudden and senseless loss.  Our thoughts and prayers are with his family and friends during this difficult time.  NSW benefitted greatly from the work Jim did to support our mission, we appreciate his dedication and honor his service to our country.” ~ Rear Admiral Tim Szymanski, Commander, Naval Special Warfare Command


Name: James Vincent Celani Jr.
Home of Record: Lancaster, California
Date Commissioned: November 7, 1997
Designator: Pilot


Celani joined the Navy in 1997 and served in multiple aviation units as both an H-60B and C-12 pilot throughout his career. After completing training in November 1999, he checked into Carrier Reserve Air Wing/Group (HSM 41) at Naval Air Station North Island, CA.  In August 2000, Celani served with Helicopter Maritime Strike Squadron 51 (HSM 51) in Atsugi, Japan. In 2003, he transferred to Navy Munitions Command Pacific, Commander Fleet Activities, Okinawa, Japan, and followed on to a tour on the USS Nimitz in 2006. In 2008, Celani transferred to the Naval Special Warfare Community, completing tours at Naval Special Warfare Group ONE, Special Reconnaissance Team ONE and Naval Special Warfare Command, where he led and carried out pioneering work in NSW’s Unmanned Ariel System programs and acquisitions.


Celani’s personal awards include the Meritorious Service Medal, the Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medal (4), the Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal, the National Defense Service Medal, the Global War on Terrorism Expeditionary and Service Medals, and the Sea Service Deployment and the Navy/Marine Corps Overseas Deployment Ribbons.


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