Military Assistant for the Assistant Secretary of the Navy for Research, Development, and Acquisition [ASN(RDA)]
Colonel Alex Jack “Meatloaf” Ramthun, United States Marine Corps (USMC), presently serves as the Military Assistant for the Assistant Secretary of the Navy for Research, Development, and Acquisition [ASN(RDA)] at the Pentagon.
A native of Beloit, Wisconsin, Colonel Ramthun received a USMC officer commission after graduating with a Bachelor of Science degree in economics in 2000 via the Naval Reserve Officers Training Corps (NROTC) at the University of Kansas. Upon completion of The Basic School in 2001, Colonel Ramthun progressed through Naval Flight School to earn the designation of Naval Aviator and fixed wing jet pilot in 2004. Colonel Ramthun completed AV-8B replacement pilot flight training at Marine Attack Squadron VMAT-203 aboard MCAS Cherry Point, NC and began his first Harrier operational assignment with Marine Attack Squadron 542 (VMA-542) in 2005.
While with VMA-542, Colonel Ramthun deployed with the 24th Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU) aboard USS Iwo Jima in 2006, participating in combat missions in support of Operation Enduring Freedom (OEF) and Operation Iraqi Freedom (OIF). In 2007, Colonel Ramthun deployed to Al Asad Air Base in Iraq flying combat missions in support OIF 06-08.2.
In 2009, Colonel Ramthun graduated from both the Joint Terminal Attack Controller (JTAC) School and Marine Aviation Tactics Squadron One (MAWTS-1) Air Officer Course (AOC) and served with 1st Battalion, 6th Marine Regiment (1/6) as the Battalion Air Officer (AirO) and Forward Air Controller (FAC). Colonel Ramthun deployed with 1/6 to clear Marjah in central Helmand Province, Afghanistan during Operation Moshtark.
From 2010-2013, Colonel Ramthun served with the University of Nebraska at Lincoln NROTC Unit as the Marine Officer Instructor (MOI) and Executive Officer (XO) of the command. During his NROTC tour in 2011, Colonel Ramthun served as the Company G Commanding Officer at Marine Corps Officer Candidates School (OCS).
In 2013, Colonel Ramthun returned to the AV-8B Harrier operating forces, serving as the Marine Aircraft Group 14 (MAG-14) Current Readiness Officer and VMA-231 Aircraft Maintenance Officer (AMO). Colonel Ramthun deployed with VMA-231 aboard USS Bonhomme Richard in support of the 31st MEU and flew missions in the Pacific Command Area of Responsibility (AOR).
Colonel Ramthun continued flying the AV-8B until reporting to Naval Air Systems Command (NAVAIR) to serve as Class Desk and Deputy Program Manager for Systems Engineering at PMA-257 in 2016, where he led efforts to rapidly integrate Advanced Precision Kill Weapons System (APKWS) laser guided rockets and Link-16 data networking capabilities to the Harrier. He also executed a fellowship at the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) in 2017, supporting innovative technical efforts to develop advanced lethal technologies for the US Military.
In 2018, Colonel Ramthun began duties as the F402 Propulsion and Power Integrated Product Team (IPT) Lead for the Harrier Program, where he guided the enterprise to exceed and sustain the Pegasus Engine Readiness Goal (ERG) of greater than 146 ready for issue (RFI) engines, averaging 155 (+9) during FY18. During this same period, Colonel Ramthun also served at the office of the Assistant Secretary of the Navy for Research, Development and Acquisition at the Pentagon, participating in Secretary James F. Geurts’ SIGMA Fellowship, an acquisitions executive leadership development program.
In 2019, Colonel Ramthun was one of twenty Department of Defense military officers selected to participate in the Secretary of Defense Executive Fellowship (SDEF) Program. Working at Shell Oil in Houston, TX, he served as the Program Director for Sanctions and Financial Crime Transformation within Global Business Excellence.
In August 2020, Colonel Ramthun began work as the Director of Marine Corps Programs at the Multi-Mission Tactical Unmanned Aerial Systems Program (PMA-266), Program Executive Office, Unmanned Aviation and Strike Weapons (PEO U&W). Leading the Commandant’s top aviation priority for Force Design 2030, the Marine Air Ground Task Force Unmanned Aircraft System Medium Altitude Long Endurance (MUX/MALE) MQ-9A Reaper, he supervised the $1.67 billion dollar 18 air vehicle acquisition program and $1.3 billion dollar mission systems development effort, delivering critical capabilities ahead of schedule to warfighters.
In addition to his undergraduate degree, Colonel Ramthun has earned a Master of Arts (MA) in Organizational Leadership from Gonzaga University, a Master of Business Administration (MBA) from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (UNC), and a Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) in Human Sciences (I/O Psychology) from the University of Nebraska at Lincoln (UNL). Colonel Ramthun is also a graduate of career level non-resident Expeditionary Warfare School (EWS), intermediate level non-resident United States Air Force Air Command and Staff College (ACSC), and Top Level resident school via SDEF. Colonel Ramthun has completed the Defense Acquisition University (DAU) education program and awarded a Level III Defense Acquisition Workforce Improvement Act (DAWIA) certification in the field of Program Management.
Colonel Ramthun has accumulated nearly 1,500 flight hours in various aircraft, to include more than 300 combat flight hours and 200 shipboard landings in the AV-8B Harrier. He has also attained multiple flight leadership and combat pilot qualifications during his flying career.
Colonel Ramthun’s military awards include: 2018 Marine Corps Aviation Association (MCAA) Lieutenant General Michael A. Hough Marine Aviation Acquisition Officer of the Year, 2012 National Defense Industrial Association (NDIA)
Colonel Leo A. Codd Memorial Award as National ROTC Instructor of Year, Meritorious Service Medal (Third Award), Air Medal (Third Award), Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medal, Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal, and the Combat Action Ribbon.