Cmdr. Steven Schmidt relieved Cmdr. David Zielinski as commanding officer of USS Fort McHenry (LSD 43) during a change of command ceremony on Aug. 15 on board the ship.

Schmidt is a 1997 graduate of the University of Delaware. Following graduation he enlisted in the United States Navy.

Schmidt’s first assignment was onboard USS Shiloh (CG 67). After advancing to Second Class Petty Officer he was selected for Officer Candidate School and received his commission in January 2000.

In June 2000, Schmidt reported to USS Cleveland (LPD 7) as Combat Information Center Officer, Electronic Warfare Officer, and Legal Officer. In June 2002 he reported to USS Curts (FFG 38) as Navigator. 

From December 2003 to June 2007, Schmidt served at the United States Naval Academy as a Naval Science Instructor and Surface Warfare Officer Career Information Program Coordinator. 

In February 2008, Schmidt reported to USS Mes Verde (LPD 19) as Operations Officer. In June 2009, he reported to Commander, Amphibious Squadron Eight as Staff Operations and Plans Officer.

In February 2011, Schmidt assumed command of PC CREW MIKE and commanded USS Tempest (PC 2) and USS Chinook (PC 9).

In May of 2012, Schmidt reported to OPNAV N96 as the LCS Mission Modules Requirements Officer. In November 2013, he reported to the Joint Staff, J5 in the Deputy Directorate for Joint Strategic Planning. In February 2017, Schmidt reported to USS Fort McHenry (LSD 43) as Executive Officer.

Schmidt holds a Masters of Arts in National Security and Strategic Studies from the Naval War College and is a qualified Joint Service Officer.

Zielinski received his commission in March 1998 after graduating from the Georgia Institute of Technology with a bachelor’s degree in Electrical Engineering.

His first tour of duty was aboard USS John Paul Jones (DDG 53) where he served as Anti-Submarine Warfare Officer. In April 2001, Zielinski reported aboard USS Rushmore (LSD 47) as the Main Propulsion Assistant.

From 2002 to 2005, Zielinski served as Navigation instructor at NROTC Unit Virginia Tech in Blacksburg, Virginia.

In November 2005, Zielinski reported aboard USS Harpers Ferry (LSD 49) where he served as Chief Engineer. In July 2007 he reported to Commander, Amphibious Squadron Two as Staff Material Officer, also serving for a time as acting Chief Engineer aboard USS Oak Hill (LSD 51).

Following a year of study at the United States Naval War College, Zielinski served in 2010 as the Officer in Charge of the Navy Petroleum Detachment at COB Adder in Iraq, working with the Army’s 224th Sustainment Brigade.

Zielinski served from 2010 to 2012 as the Afloat Safety Officer course lead instructor at Surface Warfare Officers School Command in Newport, Rhode Island.

In November 2012, he reported to the Office of the Secretary of Defense in Washington, DC, where he served as an Acquisition Analyst within the Office of the Undersecretary of Defense for Acquisition, Technology, and Logistic.

Zielinski holds a Master’s degree in Public and International Affairs from Virginia Tech and a Master of Arts in National Security and Strategic Studies from the United States Naval War College.