Captain Thomas "Tom" Chandler is the former Chief of Naval Operations and former Commanding Officer of USS Nathan James. During Chandler's command of the USS Nathan James, a virus outbreak killed 80% of the Earth's population. Chandler then made it his ship's mission to find a cure, and in the process, save the world.
The son of United States Army veteran Jed Chandler, Tom Chandler was raised in Virginia along with a brother and a sister. As a young man, Tom joined the United States Navy to piss off his father.
He speaks and reads fluent Russian, and has a book written by Admiral Konstantin Nikolajewitsch Ruskov in his personal collection.
Tom Chandler is a graduate of the United States Naval Academy in Annapolis, Maryland as per the college degree he has on the wall of his Captain's Quarters (as seen on the episode El Toro).
As a Lieutenant, junior grade, Chandler served on the USS Pinckney (DDG-91) after completing a tour of duty in Iraq. The Pinckney's captain promoted him to full Lieutenant; years later, Chandler gave his Lieutenant's bars to Lieutenant Alisha Granderson during her promotion ceremony.
By 2013, Chandler held the rank of Commander in the United States Navy and was the Captain of the Arleigh Burke-class guided missile destroyer USS Nathan James (DDG-151). That year, he and his crew took on paleomicrobiologists Dr. Rachel Scott and Dr. Quincy Tophet as the Nathan James conducted operations at the Arctic. However, their mission, unknown to even them, was just a cover for Drs. Scott and Tophet, who were actually collecting samples of a deadly virus that has infected 80 percent of the human population while they have been at sea. Commander Chandler then made it his ship's mission to find a cure and save the world.
Events of The Last Ship
With the ship's generators damaged, Chandler advises a plan to generate enough power to reach dry land and save the crew from dehydration. (“We'll Get There”)
He addresses the dwindling morale aboard the Nathan James and inspires the sailors to continue on with their mission. (“Lockdown”)
With the human trials taking place, Chandler observes the volunteers from afar. After the vaccine begins to fail, he urges Dr. Scott to fix the problems. Dr. Scott manages to create a cure. After the cure had been administered to the volunteers, he tells Kara Foster that she is pregnant. (“Trials”)
After arriving in Baltimore with greetings from Amy Granderson, Tom is taken to her headquarters. While he is there, he receives a radio transmission from his father and rushes to his location with a search team. After hostilities with the State Troopers, he orders his men to head back while he heads to Olympia with Carlton Burk. He finds his family but discovers that his wife had died. He then tries to radio contact the Nathan James, however, receives no reply. (“No Place Like Home”)
With the Nathan James under siege by Granderson's people, CDR Chandler and his few landlocked crewmembers take the fight to Granderson, teaming up with the underground resistance against Granderson led by Andrew Thorwald, a former Baltimore Police Department officer. Together, they were able to stop her, but Thorwald was killed in the attempt, and Granderson chose to commit suicide rather than be arrested by Chandler. (“Unreal City”) (“Fight the Ship”)
After liberating Baltimore, the ship returns home to Norfolk, where they cure the town and reunite with several teams of Navy pilots and SEALs and scattered remnants of other branches of the U.S. Armed Forces and civilian medical and scientific experts. Although CDR Chandler planned to retire in order to take care of his family, his father convinced him that his place was on the Nathan James. (“It's Not a Rumor”)
CDR Chandler and the Nathan James's next opponents are a group of natural Immunes led by former Royal Navy Lieutenant Commander Sean Ramsey, who have taken command of the Astute-class submarine HMS Achilles. The Immunes have also brainwashed the United States Secretary of Housing and Urban Development, Jeffrey Michener, who is the sole surviving member of the Cabinet of the United States & Presidential Line of Succession.
After the defeat of the Immunes and the successful creation of the "contagious cure" by Dr. Scott, the Nathan James is put into drydock in St. Louis, Missouri, where Michener is sworn in as President of the United States by a surviving judge. One of Michener's first inaugural acts as President is to promote CDR Chandler to the position of Chief of Naval Operations. (“A More Perfect Union”)
As Chief of Naval Operations, Chandler holds the rank of Captain, having turned down a promotion to Admiral, saying that "[Captain] suits him better". (“The Scott Effect”)
Awards and decorations
The following are the medals and service awards fictionally worn by Captain Chandler.
- Surface Warfare insignia
- Command-at-Sea insignia (inactive position)
Medals & Ribbons
- Silver Star
- Legion of Merit
- Purple Heart
- Meritorious Service Medal, with one gold award star (2 awards)
- Joint Service Commendation Medal
- Navy & Marine Corps Commendation Medal, with two gold award stars (3 awards)
- Navy & Marine Corps Achievement Medal, with two gold award stars (3 awards)
- Navy Unit Commendation, with two bronze service stars (3 awards)
- Meritorious Unit Commendation, with one bronze service star (2 awards)
- Navy "E" Ribbon, with three "E" devices (3 awards)
- Navy Expeditionary Medal
- National Defense Service Medal, with one bronze service star (2 awards)
- Global War on Terrorism Expeditionary Medal
- Global War on Terrorism Service Medal
- Sea Service Deployment Ribbon, with four bronze service stars (5 awards)
- Navy Expert Rifleman Medal
- Navy Expert Pistol Shot Medal
CAPT Chandler received the Silver Star and the Purple Heart for his actions during the Red Flu crisis.
- He joined the Navy to piss off his father, who was in the Army.
- He keeps a bracelet given to him by his daughter in his front pocket.
- He carries a Beretta M9 in 9×19 as his personal sidearm; he also frequently uses the M4A1 carbine in 5.56×45mm.
- Over the course of the series, CAPT Chandler has killed numerous times in the line of duty.