Capt. David James relieved Capt. Monty Ashliman as commanding officer of Naval Air Station (NAS) Lemoore during a change of command ceremony on board the installation on Oct. 17.
The transfer in leadership comes at an exciting time for an installation that came in second place for FY16’s Commander, Navy Installations Command’s Installation Excellence Award and is scheduled to receive delivery of its first set of F-35C Lightning II Joint Strike Fighter aircraft in January 2017.
Ashliman assumed command of NAS Lemoore in June 2013, having previously served as the Naval and Amphibious Liaison Element (NALE) Director in the Combined Air Operations Center (CAOC) at Al Udeid Air Base, Qatar, as well as serving as the Force Deployment Branch Head in the Global Force Management Division with U.S. Fleet Forces Command, Norfolk, Va.
“Over 50 percent of the strike fighter airpower that launches and recovers from aircraft carrier flight decks is stationed right here in the charming San Joaquin Valley of California,” said Ashliman. “Naval Air Station Lemoore’s contributions to our United States Navy and our nation’s defense is staggering and must be supported and resourced accordingly.”
Helping ensure the installation’s 16 strike fighter squadrons are able to train and prepare for deployments is the extensive support from the local community.
“Since I got into the business of Naval aviation, I have always heard of the amazing community relationships that exist between the installation and surrounding communities here,” said Ashliman. “I can tell you from experience that even with all the positive talk about those relationships, they are even stronger than the stories tell.”
Rear Adm. Yancy Lindsey, Commander, Navy Region Southwest served as the guest speaker of the ceremony.
“We need NAS Lemoore performing at the peak,” said Lindsey. “As the Pacific Fleet’s home for the Super Hornet and, very soon, the Joint Strike Fighter, the installation team here provides the infrastructure, the products, and the services that enable NAS Lemoore’s tenant commands, including Commander, Strike Fighter Wing Pacific squadrons to conduct operations in support of national tasking both here and around the world.”
“Under Monty’s leadership, the NAS Lemoore team has taken fleet support to the next level,” added Lindsey. “You should all be proud of what you accomplished over these past three years in the quality of life arena, it’s made a difference for thousands of Sailors and their families.”
Lindsey presented Ashliman with the Legion of Merit, Gold Star in lieu of second award in recognition of a job well done.
James assumes command of NAS Lemoore following his assignment as BUPERS-31, Head Officer Community Manager, in Millington, Tenn.
“I am honored and excited to be here and I can assure you I will lead this command with all my heart and soul,” said James. “The NAS Lemoore team will continue to provide the world class support evident everywhere you go onboard this fine installation where the professionalism of the personnel, the appearance of the facilities, and the overall atmosphere is second to none. The communities surrounding NAS Lemoore provide unparalleled support of our mission.”
Ashliman’s next assignment is as the Operations Officer for Commander, Navy Region Mid-Atlantic, headquartered at Naval Station Norfolk, Va.