A native of Martinsburg, West Virginia, Lieutenant Commander Wachtel graduated from the United States Naval Academy in May 2006, earning a Bachelors of Science Degree in International Relations and a commission into the Surface Warfare community. He later earned his Master’s Degree in National Security and Strategic Studies from the United States Naval War College.
At sea, his assignments include Strike Officer and Electronic Warfare Officer onboard USS Donald Cook (DDG 75); Executive Officer and Weapons Officer onboard Patrol Coastal Crew Juliet embarked in USS Squall (PC 7), USS Typhoon (PC 5), USS Monsoon (PC 4) and USS Thunderbolt (PC 12); Combat Systems Officer for Littoral Combat Ship (LCS) Crew 202 onboard USS Independence (LCS 2); and Operations Officer onboard USS Gabrielle Giffords (LCS 10) Gold.
During his time at sea, Jonathan deployed independently to the Sixth Fleet AOR in support of Maritime Theater Security Cooperation, deployed to the Fifth Fleet AOR in support of Operations Enduring Freedom and Iraqi Freedom, conducted numerous multi-national training and exercises with strategic partners, commissioned a ship into active service, and tested operational and developmental technologies.
Ashore, Jonathan served as Congressional Liaison Officer to the U.S. House of Representatives for the Navy’s Office of Legislative Affairs where he planned, developed, and coordinated relationships between representatives of the Department of the Navy and Members of the United States Congress and their Committee staffs. Overseas, he served as the Tomahawk Land Attack Missile Detachment Officer in Charge for Commander, Naval Forces Europe & Africa as well as Commander, U.S. Sixth Fleet. Here, Jonathan was responsible for strike planning and execution with several U.S. allies for combatants across the European and African theaters.
In 2019, Jonathan transitioned to the Foreign Area Officer community and attended the Defense Language Institute. From December 2020 until July 2023, he served first as Chief of Maritime Programs then as Chief of Plans & Policy for the Joint U.S. Military Assistance Group located at U.S. Embassy Manila, Philippines.
Jonathan’s military decorations include the Defense Meritorious Service Medal, Navy Commendation Medal (4), Navy Achievement Medal (3) as well as various personal, service and unit awards. He is a SERE school graduate, qualified military parachutist, certified mountain guide, certified open water diver, and tested proficiency in Indonesian, Spanish and Italian languages.