Commanding Officer, 26th Marine Expeditionary Unit
Colonel Dennis W. Sampson

Born in Oceanside, California, Colonel Sampson is a third generation United States Marine raised in Cincinnati, Ohio.  He is a 1996 graduate of Norwich University with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Criminal Justice.  He joined the Platoon Leader's Class (PLC) in 1993 and was commissioned through the Naval Reserves Officer Training Corps (NROTC) in 1996 after receiving a two year United States Marine Corps scholarship.  Following graduation, he completed The Basic School in Quantico, Virginia and was designated a Naval Aviator in May of 1999.  He reported to Marine Corps Air Station New River for initial CH-53E training with HMHT-302 and joined the “Condors” of HMH-464 in early 2000.

In 2001, shortly after the events of 9/11, Captain Sampson deployed with the “Blue Knights” of HMM 365 (REIN), 26th Marine Expeditionary Unit Special Operations Capable in support of Task Force 58 and in support of Combined Joint Special Operations Task Force K-BAR in direct support of Operation SWIFT FREEDOM and Operation ENDURING FREEDOM (OEF) from forward operating bases Rhino, Kandahar, and Bagram airfield.  In early 2003, he deployed with HMH-464, MAG-29 and Amphibious Task Force East, Task Force Tarawa, 2d Marine Expeditionary Brigade supporting OEF and later IRAQI FREEDOM (OIF) from several forward operating bases in southern Iraq.  While returning from combat operations in Iraq, onboard the USS Kearsarge, he participated in Operation SHINING EXPRESS in Liberia.

In the fall of 2003, after graduating from the Marine Aviation Weapons and Tactics Squadron One (MAWTS-1) Weapons and Tactics Instructor (WTI) course, Captain Sampson joined the “Thunder Chickens” of HMM-263 (REIN).  In January 2004, he deployed with the 24th MEU in support of OIF II (‘04-’05) as the Aviation Combat Element (ACE) Assistant Future Operations Officer and CH-53E Detachment Weapons and Tactics Instructor.

In February 2005, Captain Sampson completed the CH-53D conversion training prior to reporting to MAWTS-1 as a CH-53D/E instructor pilot.  He served as the CH-53 Division Head from January 2006 to June 2008.  During this tour, he deployed to the Horn of Africa in support of CJTF-HOA and was promoted to the rank of Major.

In June of 2009, Major Sampson reported to MAG-24 as the Future Operations and Tactics Officer.  He joined the “Pegasus” of HMH-463 in early 2010 and served as the Operations Officer and Executive Officer.  During this tour, he deployed with SPMAGTF-3 and to Afghanistan in support of OEF 11.1.  Following the OEF 11.1 deployment, he assisted with the squadron’s transition from the CH-53D “Sea Stallion” to the CH-53E “Super Stallion”.

Major Sampson reported to Headquarters Marine Corps, Plans, Policies, and Operations in July 2012 and served in the Marine Corps Operations Center before being assigned the duties as the Future Operations Group Section Head.  During this tour, he deployed in support of crisis response operations with the initial SPMAGTF-CR Africa elements as a liaison officer with USAFRICOM and was promoted to the rank of Lieutenant Colonel.

Upon returning to the Fleet Marine Forces, Lieutenant Colonel Sampson served as the MAG-29 HQ Squadron Commanding Officer and as the HMH-366 RBE/DET-A Officer-In-Charge prior to assuming command of HMH-464 in 2014.  He led the “Condors” during two deployments and supervised the deployment of multiple MEU detachments.  In November 2014, he embarked the squadron aboard the USS Arlington and HNLMS Johan DeWitt as the Coalition MAGTF ACE during Exercise BOLD ALLIGATOR 2014.  In January 2016, HMH-464 (REIN) joined elements from across 2d Marine Aircraft Wing and the Norwegian 339TH Squadron to form the composite ACE for the 2d Marine Expeditionary Brigade and the Combined Joint Task Force during Exercise COLD RESPONSE 2016 in the Kingdom of Norway.  His command tour culminated with HMH-464 receiving the Marine Corps Aviation Association Keith B. McCutcheon award as the 2015 Marine Heavy Helicopter Squadron of the Year.

In 2017, he was selected to serve as the Senior Aide to the 37th Commandant of the Marine Corps.  In 2019, he deployed to Kabul, Afghanistan for duty as the Deputy Director of the Commander’s Action Group for the Commanding General of NATO RESOLUTE SUPPORT and Operation FREEDOM’S SENTINEL and was selected to serve as the Executive Officer to the Commanding General of Combined Security Transition Command – Afghanistan.  He reported to II Marine Expeditionary Force in February 2020 for duty as the II MEF AC/S G-5 prior to reporting to the 26th Marine Expeditionary Unit.

Colonel Sampson is a graduate of the United States Marine Corps non-resident Amphibious Warfare School, non-resident Command and Staff College, the College of Naval Command and Staff at the Naval War College, and the National War College at the National Defense University.