Col. Jeffrey Pavelko graduated from Pennsylvania State University and earned his commission in May 1994. Upon graduation from The Basic School (TBS) in Quantico, Virginia, he was assigned to flight school in Pensacola, Florida, and designated a naval aviator in September 1997.
Pavelko reported to Marine Light Attack Helicopter Training Squadron (HMLAT) 303 at Camp Pendleton, California, for training in the AH-1W SuperCobra with a follow-on assignment to the "Vipers" of Marine Light Attack Helicopter Squadron (HMLA) 169 in March 1998. While assigned to HMLA-169, he served as the squadron tactics officer, pilot training officer, embark officer and in various operations and logistics assignments. He attended the Weapons and Tactics Instructor (WTI) course and designated as a WTI in April 2001. During this tour, he deployed with: Marine Medium Tilt Rotor Squadron (HMM) 165 (Reinforced) as part of the Aviation Combat Element for 11th Marine Expeditionary Unit (Special Operations Capable); HMLA-169 as part of the Unit Deployment Program (UDP) to Okinawa, Japan; and HMLA-169 for Operation Iraqi Freedom (OIF).
In July 2003, he reported to Marine Aviation Weapons and Tactics Squadron One (MAWTS-1) where he served as an instructor pilot, the Rotary-Wing Offensive Air Support (RW OAS) specialist, AH-1W Aviation-Series Naval Tactics, Techniques and Procedures model manager, and the AH-1W division head.
In July 2006, Pavelko reported to Command and Staff College, Marine Corps University, in Quantico, Virginia, where he earned his master's of military studies.
In June 2007, Pavelko reported to Marine Aircraft Group (MAG) 29 as the future operations officer where he deployed to Iraq in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom 07.2-08.1. Returning from Iraq in February 2008, he transferred to the "Gunrunners" of HMLA-269 as the operations officer. In August 2008, he deployed to Iraq with HMLA-269 for OIF 08.2-09.1, returning in February of 2009. In May 2009, he assumed the duties of squadron executive officer. In August 2009, he deployed to Iraq for OIF 09.2. In March 2010, Pavelko transferred back to MAG-29 as the operations officer. In June 2011, he assumed the duties of MAG-29 executive officer.
In January 2012, Pavelko reported to Helicopter Training Squadron (HT) 28 at NAS Whiting Field, Florida. He served as the executive officer then commanding officer of HT-28 from June 2012 to December 2014.
In July 2015, Pavelko reported to Air War College, Air University, at Maxwell Air Force Base (AFB) in Montgomery, Alabama, where he earned his master's of strategic studies.
In July 2016, Pavelko reported to United States Special Operations Command (USSOCOM) at MacDill AFB in Tampa, Florida, where he served within J7 Joint Special Operations Forces Development directorate. In July 2018, Pavelko returned to Training Air Wing Five at NAS Whiting Field for his current assignment.
His personal decorations include: Defense Meritorious Service Medal; Meritorious Service Medal (2nd award); the Air Medal, for individual action, with Combat "V" device and gold star (2nd award); the Air Medal, strike/flight, with numeral "9"; and the Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medal with gold star (2nd award).