A Connecticut native, Rear Admiral Cynthia Thebaud graduated with distinction from the U.S. Naval Academy in 1985 with a Bachelor of Science in Chemistry. She also holds a Master of Arts in Security Policy Studies from The George Washington University, is an honors graduate of the Naval War College, and is qualified joint specialty officer.
At sea, Thebaud has served in ships in both the Atlantic and Pacific fleets with deployed operations in the Western Pacific, Arabian Gulf, Indian Ocean, Horn of Africa, Central America, Mediterranean Sea, Black Sea, and Gulf of Guinea/West Africa areas of operation. As the commanding officer in USS Decatur (DDG 73), she deployed to the Middle East as part of the Navy's initial Expeditionary Strike Group (ESG 1) in support of Operations Iraqi Freedom and Enduring Freedom. She subsequently commanded Destroyer Squadron 60 where, in addition to serving as the 6th Fleet surface combatant force commander (CTF 65), she also commanded two multi-national African Partnership Station deployments focused on maritime security capacity-building in West and Central Africa. Most recently, on July 17, 2014 she assumed the duties of commander, Expeditionary Strike Group 2.
Ashore, her assignments have included commander, Logistics Group Western Pacific and commander, Task Force 73; chief operating officer, Naval Education and Training Command; policy branch chief (N512) on the Chief of Naval Operations staff; director, Division of Professional Development at the U.S. Naval Academy; and chief, Southeast Asia Division in the Joint Staff, Strategic Plans and Policy Directorate (J-5).