Cmdr. Gabi "Jersey" Cunningham is a native of Lafayette, New Jersey. She graduated from the United States Naval Academy in 2005 with a Bachelor of Science degree in mechanical engineering. Upon graduation, she was assigned to flight school in Pensacola, Florida. Designated a Naval Aviator in April 2007, Cunningham was assigned to Helicopter Anti-Submarine Squadron Light (HSL) 40 in Mayport, Florida, for training in the SH-60B Seahawk.
In January 2008, Cunningham reported to the "Wolfpack" of HSL-45 on Naval Air Station (NAS) North Island, California. She deployed twice to the Horn of Africa and Arabian Gulf in support of Operations Iraqi Freedom and Enduring Freedom on board USS Lake Champlain (CG 57).On her second deployment, she conducted counter narco-terrorism and counter piracy operations in the 4th and 5th Fleet areas of responsibility, serving as the air maintenance officer for her detachment.
In June 2011, Cunningham was assigned to the "Hellions" of Helicopter Training Squadron (HT) 28 flying the TH-57 Jet Ranger where she served as an advanced rotary wing flight instructor and the squadron Naval Air Training and Operating Procedures Standardization (NATOPS) officer. While assigned to HT-28, she was selected as their National Helicopter Association Training Command 2013 Pilot of the Year.
Post instructor duty, Cunningham completed a flag aide tour serving as protocol officer to Commander, Naval Air Forces from February 2014 to February 2016.While protocol for Air Boss, she also completed Joint Professional Military Education Phase I through the Naval War College's Fleet Seminar Program.
In March 2016, Cunningham joined the "Scorpions" of Helicopter Maritime Strike Squadron (HSM) 49 in San Diego flying the MH-60R. She served as officer-in-charge of Detachment Three deployed aboard USS Sterett (DDG 104) supporting the Carl Vinson Carrier Strike Group and Wasp Expeditionary Strike Group in the 3rd and 7th Fleet areas of responsibility.
Following her department head tour, Cunningham's next assignment was to the Advanced Helicopter Training System (AHTS) Fleet Integration Team in Milton, Florida, as the assistant officer-in-charge, responsible for integrating all aspects of the TH-73A flight system into Advanced Helicopter Training at South Whiting Field.
Cunningham currently serves as Chief Staff Officer for Commander, Training Air Wing Five. Her personal awards include the Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medal (3), the Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal as well as multiple unit and campaign awards.