NAS LEMOORE – Strike Fighter Weapons School Pacific (SFWSPAC) welcomed a new commanding officer during a change of command ceremony, Friday, December 6.
Cmdr. Jed R. Johnson, from Medford, OR relieved Cmdr. Cory F. Hess from San Antonio, TX, during the ceremony held at Naval Air Station, Lemoore, CA. Cmdr. Hess assumed command in August 2018 and successfully led the “Outlaws” through four highly demanding Strike Fighter Advanced Readiness Programs (SFARP). SFARP is a unit-level training program intended to maximize the tactical proficiency of strike fighter aircrews and involves academic lectures, simulator and tactical sorties. Hess led the Strike Fighter Tactics Instructors (SFTIs) of SFWSPAC through back-to-back SFARPs for CVW-9, CVW-11, CVW-5 and CVW-17, which involved multiple detachments to NAS Fallon, NV, NAS Key West, FL, MCAS Iwakuni, Japan and Anderson, AFB, Guam. During Hess’s tenure, SFWSPAC successfully completed the Conventional Weapons Technical Proficiency and Inspections (CWTPI) for the Navy’s fifth generation combat aircraft, the F-35C Lightning II, Joint Strike Fighter.
“The highlight of this tour has been working with each and every squadron from here in Lemoore to all the way out in Japan, knowing that our mission has been helping those squadrons accomplish theirs. Our job is to ensure every PACFLEET Strike-Fighter squadron has all the tools they need to succeed in combat. Knowing they are all Outlaw-trained is a tremendous responsibility, but also something we take a great deal of pride in. It has been the greatest honor and privilege of my career to serve such highly skilled professionals at SFWSPAC as their Commanding Officer,” said Hess.
Johnson is the 36th commanding officer to lead SFWSPAC and has assumed command during yet another challenging SFARP season. Under Johnson’s command, “The Outlaws” will integrate the F-35C into the fleet training syllabus. This will not be Johnson’s first tour at SFWPAC. After his junior officer tour with the “TOPHATTERS” of VFA-14, Johnson completed TOPGUN and was assigned to SFWSPAC, serving as the Adversary Officer and Annex Department Head. Johnson returned to the “TOPHATTERS” for his Department Head tour and was selected as the Aide-de-Camp (ADC) to the USNORTHCOM Combatant Commander at Peterson AFB, Colorado prior to returning to SFWSPAC as the Executive Officer in 2017.
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“The Outlaws have a long tradition of persistent professionalism, and I look forward to the opportunity to lead these dedicated service members. We will work tirelessly to maximize the survivability and lethality of strike fighter aircrew onboard NAS Lemoore, ensuring all who deploy in protection of our freedoms come home safely, with the mission accomplished,” said Johnson.
Strike Fighter Weapons School Pacific is the Pacific Fleet Strike Fighter School, based at NAS Lemoore, California. SFWSPAC was established on October 15, 1973 as Light Attack Weapons School, Pacific (LAWSPAC). Today, SFWSPAC is dedicated to providing standardized graduate level training of F/A-18 weapons employment and dedicated to guaranteeing the combat readiness of the Strike Fighter Community by providing the best possible training in mission planning, tactics, weapons systems and ordnance handling. Thirty weapons and tactics courses for strike fighter aircraft are taught on a continuing basis. The total amount of ordnance uploaded in courses totals over 2 ½ million pounds annually. The squadron is currently integrating the F-35C Joint Strike Fighter into fleet training as well.
Currently SFWSPAC is staffed with 23 officers, 29 enlisted personnel and 7 civilians.