NAS LEMOORE (March 1, 2018) – VFA-94 Mighty Shrikes welcomed a new commanding officer during a change of command ceremony, Friday, March 1.
CDR Nick Smetana, from Racine, Wisconsin, relieved CDR Joe Pommerer from New England, ND, during the ceremony held aboard the USS Theodore Roosevelt. CDR Pommerer assumed command, December 20, 2016, and led VFA-94 through a challenging workup cycle and into the squadron’s first combat deployment in the F-18F Super Hornet. CDR Pommerer’s next duty assignment is in San Diego with Carrier Strike Group FIFTEEN.
CDR Pommerer describes the highlights of his tour as Commanding Officer as follows: “The Hobo team worked extremely hard throughout a very challenging workup cycle over the last year. The Sailors’ perseverance has enabled the command to complete any mission levied by leadership with unparalleled success. It was truly an honor to lead and serve this command, but if I had to choose one area I enjoyed most about being the Commanding Officer it was seeing the progress each person made over the last 15 months and how their collective contributions led to the success the squadron is now having on a combat deployment. All aircrew and squadron Sailors exhibited a tremendous amount of dedication, drive, and pride in their jobs, and while it was not always easy, they stepped up to take on those challenges and in turn, they and the command are better for it. “
CDR Pommerer’s command tour culminated with the Hobos successfully supporting combat operations in support of Operations INHERENT RESOLVE and FREEDOM’S SENTINAL for the last three months.
CDR Smetana is the 51st commanding officer to lead Strike Fighter Squadron 94 and has assumed command at a crucial point in the 2017-2018 Combat Deployment as the squadron continues to support the coalition forces in Operation Inherent Resolve. Prior to taking over as the Executive Officer of VFA-94, CDR Smetana was the Executive Assistant to the Deputy Director for Force Protection and Counter Weapons of Mass Destruction.
“I am humbled and honored to have the opportunity to be the Commanding Officer of the Mighty Shrikes,” said CDR Smetana. “Thanks to continued dedication, VFA-94 built up the oldest F/A-18Fs in the fleet from pieces to our current state of ten multi-role, dual-seat, fire-breathing, bomb-dropping, missile-launching, destruction-raining, supersonic F/A-18F Super Hornets. We have succeeded beyond all expectations flying combat sorties on par with our sister squadrons providing critical support to ground forces. Let’s continue to chase perfection and fix, fly, fight and Win! SHWFOTS!”
VFA-94 is a two-seat F-18F Super Hornet Strike Fighter Squadron, stationed in NAS Lemoore. The squadron was stood up in San Diego, California, on July 1, 1943. VFA-94 strives to be the greatest Strike Fighter Squadron by flawless and professional execution of any mission through the endless chase of perfection.
VFA-94 began as VB-20 flying the SBD-5 Dauntless and was a participant in several key battles of the Pacific campaign to include the battle of Leyte Gulf. The Squadron transitioned through several aircraft models to include the A-4 and A-7 and executed multiple deployments in support of bombing strikes in Vietnam. In the early '90s, the squadron became Strike Fighter Squadron 94 flying the F-18C Hornet as a UDP squadron stationed in Iwakuni, Japan, before moving to NAS Lemoore and supporting combat operations in Iraq and Syria.
Today, the squadron is executing its first combat deployment as an F-18F Super Hornet Squadron and continues to be an integral part of Operation Inherent Resolve.