A native of Mississippi, Lieutenant Colonel John Payne, Jr. completed recruit training in 1992, and his enlisted tour included billets at 2D Marine Regiment and 2D Tank Battalion as a radio repairman, Marine Corps Integrated Maintenance Management System (MIMMS) clerk, and a supply NCO. In 1994 he was commissioned via the Enlisted Commissioning Program (ECP), and as a lieutenant and frocked Captain he served as the Communications Officer and Commanding Officer of Headquarters Battery, 3D Battalion, 10TH Marines.
As a captain, his tour at Marine Corps Combat Development Command (MCCDC) from 1999 to 2004 included assignments as a C4I Requirements Officer and as an Acquisitions Project Officer in Marine Air Ground Task Force Command and Control Systems Product Group, Marine Corps Systems Command (MCSC). As a Project Officer at MCSC, he led a deployed team to Kuwait in 2003 in direct support of the I Marine Expeditionary Force Command Element during Operation Enduring Freedom. In 2003 he was nominated for the Higgins Award for Acquisitions Excellence, and his project team was recognized in 2004 with a Commanding General’s Excellence in Logistics Award. During his MCSC tour, he attained Defense Acquisition Workforce Improvement Act (DAWIA) Level II certification in Program Management, and successfully advocated multiple programs before Program Evaluation Groups (PEGs) and Program Objective Memorandum (POM) Working Groups (PWGs) across three POM cycles.
In July 2004 he was promoted to Major, and assumed duties as Officer-in-Charge of the Marine Communications Detachment, Amphibious Group THREE (CPG-3), Naval Station San Diego, where he supervised upgrades and installations of more than $10 million in “Blue-in support of Green” C4I assets aboard 12 L-Class amphibious ships. In addition he deployed aboard Strike Group flagships in the Northern Arabian Gulf in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom. At Marine Wing Communications Squadron 38 from 2007 to 2009, Major Payne served as Executive Officer and Operations Officer, where he supervised fielding of the Squadron’s Transition Switch Modules, fielding of the unit’s Lightweight Multi-band Satellite Terminals (LMSTs), and deployed to Al Asad Air Base, Iraq, in support of OIF. During his tour at MWCS-38 Major Payne was awarded his secondary MOS 8058 in Acquisition Management and inducted as a member of the Navy’s Defense Acquisitions Corps.
Major Payne was selected for promotion to Lieutenant Colonel in February 2009, and was assigned temporary duty as a Special Projects Officer in the Systems Engineering & Integration Support Division, Marine Corps Tactical Systems Support Activity, Camp Pendleton, CA. He then assumed duties as a Joint C4I Test Officer at the Joint Interoperability Test Command (JITC), Fort Huachuca in August 2009, and served briefly as branch head of the Command’s C2 Systems Branch. In July 2010, after completion of Joint Forces Staff College, he assumed duties as Chief of JITC’s Force Application / Force Protection Portfolio, and was promoted to Lieutenant Colonel on 1 August 2010. From September 2011 to September 2012 he served as JITC Test Lead for the Marine Corps ISR Enterprise.
Lieutenant Colonel Payne’s personal awards include the Navy-Marine Corps Commendation Medal (gold star in lieu of fourth award), and the Navy-Marine Corps Achievement Medal. Lieutenant Colonel Payne holds a bachelor’s in journalism (cum laude) from The University of Mississippi, and a master’s degree in telecommunications management from George Mason University.