On the 9th of November, the Flying Eagles of Strike Fighter Squadron ONE TWO TWO (VFA-122) gathered to celebrate the successful command tour of CDR Christopher “Patty” Hurst, and to welcome their new Commanding Officer, CDR Dennis “Leno” Duffy.

During his tour as the skipper of one of the largest and most critical commands in strike fighter naval aviation, CDR Hurst led a production effort unprecedented by any Navy squadron. Through a strict philosophy of professionalism and respect, he developed and maintained a deeply engaged rapport with the 1,122 Sailors and civilians of VFA-122. Capitalizing on this relationship, he brilliantly led the command through significant challenges and enabled the success of its primary mission – to train the future aviators and maintainers of the strike fighter community.

Under CDR Hurst’s tutelage, the squadron exhibited unrivaled cohesion and teamwork. The Flying Eagle team delivered highly trained aircrew and maintenance technicians to the fleet while simultaneously supporting Naval Aviation Enterprise priorities well outside the normal scope of operations. His command executed 33 training detachments including 13 carrier qualification embarkations, leading to the training completion of 216 initial and refresher Pilots and Weapon Systems Officers in the F/A-18E/F. The squadron directly enabled fleet operational success through the rapid transfer of 52 aircraft and carefully managed the execution of 18,383.2 flight hours at a reduced cost per hour to the Navy. They built a comprehensive and proactive maintenance plan to manage a myriad of requirements which included the build, restoration, and return to service of 17 long-term down aircraft.

Additionally, the VFA-122 Maintenance Department substantially improved the largest organizational-level maintenance contract in the Navy. VFA-122’s successes under CDR Hurst cemented them as the premier Fleet Replacement Squadron in the Navy and enabled their return to full production capacity, training and qualifying fleet replacement aircrew. CDR Hurst’s professionalism, unparalleled commitment, and proven success continued the squadron’s long history of excellence.

Few Commanding Officers have had such an incredible breadth of responsibility, dealing with issues not only specific to his command but of interest to the Naval Aviation Enterprise at large. CDR Hurst’s extraordinary leadership has enabled the VFA-122 Flying Eagles to provide the finest aviators and maintainers to the fleet—ready to impact international diplomacy and worldwide combat operations.

CDR Duffy, previously stationed at the Pentagon as the TACAIR Analyst in the Navy Programming Division, was the former Commanding Officer of the Golden Dragons of VFA-192. CDR Duffy is married to his wife, Christina Duffy, and together they have four children: Colin, Bridget, Jillian and William. He is originally from Valley Center, CA and is a 1999 graduate of the U.S. Naval Academy.

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