Rear Adm. Paul A. “L.J.” Sohl is a native of Waterloo, Iowa. He holds a Bachelor of Science in aeronautical engineering from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and a Master of Science in aeronautical and astronautical engineering from Stanford University. He received his commission through the Naval Reserve Officers Training Corps and was designated a Naval Aviator in 1988.
Sohl served operationally with Strike Fighter Squadron (VFA) 113, the “Stingers,” Lemoore, California, aboard USS Independence (CV 62) where he deployed to the Western Pacific during Operation Desert Shield. Following graduation from the U.S. Naval Test Pilot School (USNTPS) in 1993, as a member of Class 104, he reported to Weapons Test Squadron (VX) 31, China Lake, California, and was selected as an aerospace engineering duty officer (AEDO). He later deployed to Afghanistan during Operation Enduring Freedom.
Sohl’s acquisition tours include military lead for the F/A-18 Hornet production line at Naval Aviation Depot, North Island, California; executive assistant to the Joint Strike Fighter (JSF) program director, Arlington, Virginia; executive officer and commanding officer of the USNTPS, Patuxent River, Maryland; and flight test director for the Presidential Helicopter Program (VH-71A), Patuxent River.
His commands include executive officer and commanding officer, Fleet Readiness Center Southeast (FRCSE), Jacksonville, Florida; and wing commander, Naval Test Wing Pacific, Point Mugu, California.
Sohl has served flag tours as commander, Naval Air Warfare Center Weapons Division, China Lake/Point Mugu, California; assistant commander for Test and Evaluation, Naval Air Systems Command (NAVAIR); commander, Fleet Readiness Centers (COMFRC); and assistant commander of Logistics and Industrial Operations (AIR 6.0) for NAVAIR.
In July 2016, Sohl assumed his current position as commander, Operational Test & Evaluation Force (COMOPTEVFOR), Norfolk, Virginia.
Sohl’s personal awards include the Legion of Merit (three awards), the Defense Meritorious Service Medal and various unit and sea service awards.