PERSIAN GULF (NNS) -- "Team Barbwire" of Commander, Carrier Air Wing (CVW) 11 held an airborne change of command, July 31, in the Persian Gulf.

During the presentation, Capt. Michael T. Spencer assumed the reigns relieving Capt. Robert D. Westendorff through a unique display of air power and maneuverability.

"An aerial change of command is an awesome and time-honored tradition of the aviation community," said Westendorff. "There was no better way to conclude such an amazing tour."

Westendorff's next assignment will be U.S. Naval Forces Central Command in Bahrain.

"I'm going to miss the people of the great organizations in CVW-11," said Westendorff. "It's the people that made the job fun. Although I will miss working with those incredible individuals, I look forward to still being involved in the warfighting efforts in that part of the world."

After the aerial change of command, Westendorff was presented the Legion of Merit on the flight deck of the aircraft carrier USS Nimitz (CVN 68) for his distinguished services as commander of CVW-11, by Rear Adm. Bill Byrne Jr., commander, Nimitz Carrier Strike Group.

"Capt. Westendorff did an incredible job leading the aviators, Sailors, and Marines of CVW-11 through an extremely demanding work-up cycle," said Byrne. "Team Barbwire is fully prepared for combat operations because of his leadership."

Spencer assumes the role after serving as the deputy commander of CVW-11.

"I look forward to building on the legacy of excellence that CVW-11 has demonstrated throughout its existence," said Spencer. "We will continue to answer the call of duty with speed and violence."

CVW-11 is currently headquartered in Naval Air Station Lemoore, California. It is comprised of nine combat aviation squadrons, all embarked aboard Nimitz.

Nimitz Carrier Strike Group is currently deployed in the U.S. 5th Fleet area of operations in support of Operation Inherent Resolve. While in the region, the ship and strike group are conducting maritime security operations to reassure allies and partners, preserve freedom of navigation, and maintain the free flow of commerce.

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