CAPT Michael J. Rak

Commanding Officer, USS Cowpens (CG 63)

05 October 2020
APT Rak is a 1997 graduate of the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy, where he earned a Bachelor of Science in Marine Transportation, and a United States Coast Guard Third Mates License. He earned a Master’s degree in National Security Affairs from the Naval Postgraduate School in 2003 and completed Joint Professional Military Education Phase I. In 2008, CAPT Rak attended the Joint Forces Staff College, completing Phase II of his Joint Professional Military Education.  In 2020 he earned a second Master’s degree in National Security and Strategic Studies as well as a Graduate Certificate in Maritime History from the Naval War College in Newport RI.

His operational assignments include division officer tours as Electrical Officer and First Lieutenant onboard USS CAPE ST. GEORGE (CG 71), and Navigator on USS ELROD (FFG 55). He served consecutive Department Head tours as Chief Engineer on USS MUSTIN (DDG 89) and USS SAN JACINTO (CG 56).   He served as Executive Officer and Commanding Officer of USS MILIUS (DDG 69).  While in Command of MILIUS, he led the ship through a 9 month independent BMD deployment to the 5th and 7th Fleet AOR’s, and the ship earned the Battle E.

Ashore, CAPT Rak completed a tour at U.S. Joint Forces Command in the Resources, Requirements, and Analysis Directorate. He served as Aide to Commander, Naval Surface Forces Atlantic and also as Deputy Director of the VADM Stockdale Center for Ethical Leadership at United States Naval Academy.  He was the director of the Senior Officer Ship Material Readiness Course and Prospective Commanding Officer course at Surface Warfare Officer’s School Command.  
His personal awards include the Defense Meritorious Service Medal, Meritorious Service Medal (4), the Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medal (4), the Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal (2).  He was a recipient of the Atlantic Fleet Junior Officer Ship Handling Award, and earned various unit and campaign awards to include six Battle Efficiency Awards.


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