Strike Fighter Squadron (VFA) 22, "The Fighting Redcocks," welcomed a new commanding officer, Cmdr. William Frank III of Decatur, IL, during a change of command ceremony held aboard NAS Lemoore on Thursday, Nov. 29. Cmdr. Frank relieved Cmdr. Jeremy Shamblee, a native of Houston, TX.
Cmdr. Shamblee assumed command in August 2017 and led VFA-22 through a highly successful combat deployment supporting Operation INHERENT RESOLVE and Operation FREEDOM’S SENTINEL. During the deployment, The Fighting Redcocks expended 33,500 lbs of precision guided munitions in support of coalition and U.S. forces and flew over 200 sorties into Iraq, Syria, and Afghanistan in the fight against ISIS.
While on deployment, the squadron recorded an extraordinary 780 consecutive sorties flown without a single maintenance cancellation. This was all done while simultaneously completing a mid-cruise Material Condition Inspection (MCI), which the Fighting Redcocks passed with zero flight-critical discrepancies. Given these impressive feats VFA-22 was awarded Carrier Air Wing SEVENTEEN’S Golden Wrench Award for Maintenance Excellence, a testament to the performance of the VFA-22 Maintainers.
While Cmdr. Shamblee looks back fondly on his time leading the Redcocks, his next duty assignment will take him to Naval Nuclear Power Training Command, in Charleston, South Carolina.
"It has been my greatest honor to have had the opportunity to lead this squadron for the past 15 months. From overseas combat operations to helping fellow flight line squadrons and participating in community outreach programs back home, I have never served with a more impressive group of Officers, Chiefs, and Sailors. Their laser-focus on mission accomplishment and enduring commitment to each other's well-being forged an atmosphere of inclusion and excellence that will be difficult to leave. Though bittersweet, I couldn't be happier knowing that my great friend, Cmdr. Bill Frank, is excited and absolutely primed to lead the women and men of VFA-22 as their Commanding Officer. Finally, to the Fighting Redcock families: This squadron would have been unable to accomplish our mission without your love and support, so I would like to extend one more 'Thank you' to each and every one of you for allowing us to serve our Nation and defend our Constitution."
Frank is the 56th commanding officer to lead the Fighting Redcocks. Prior to commanding VFA-22, Frank began his operational flying as an F-14D Tomcat Radar Intercept Officer (RIO) in 2003 with the “Tomcatters” of VF-31. During his three year tenure with the squadron, Cmdr. Frank deployed to the Western Pacific on board USS John C. Stennis (CVN 74) and to the Arabian Gulf on board USS Theodore Roosevelt (CVN 71) in support of Operation IRAQI FREEDOM.
Selected for transition to the F/A-18 Super Hornet, Cmdr. Frank reported to the “Gladiators” of VFA-106, the east coast’s Fleet Replacement Squadron. Upon his successful completion of the syllabus, Cmdr. Frank received orders to stay at VFA-106 to instruct newly winged aviators. Aside from his primary duties as a instructor Weapons System Officer (WSO), he also served as coffee mess officer, assistant Fighter Weapons Phase Head and Fighter Weapons Phase Head, flying all thee variants of the two-seat Hornet. Following these orders, Cmdr. Frank would deploy again in 2009 with CVW-1 as the Strike Operations Officer in support of Operation ENDURING FREEDOM aboard USS Enterprise (CVN 65).
Following his third deployment, Frank reported to the “Black Knights” of VFA-154 in February of 2012 and served as a department head in the safety, administrative, and maintenance departments. Cmdr. Frank deployed again in support of Operation ENDURING FREEDOM aboard USS Nimitz (CVN 68) during this tour.
Cmdr. Frank received orders to the “Flying Eagles” of VFA-122, the west coast Super Hornet Fleet Replacement squadron following the fourth deployment in his career. During his time as the Operations Officer, Cmdr. Frank was screened for operational squadron command in April of 2016.
“It has been one of the greatest honors of my career to serve under Skipper Shamblee. The success of this command during our recent combat deployment and subsequent maintenance and sustainment phases is a direct result of the tireless efforts of every Fighting Redcock, and more importantly the leadership of Skipper Shamblee. I wish him and his family the very best as they move on to the next chapter of their Navy life. I am blessed to be able to serve alongside the Fighting Redcock family and am confident that this team of the nations’ finest will be ready to fight when called upon. Never has the motto of this storied aviation squadron been so true. “YCBAR (You Can’t Beat a Redcock)!”
The Fighting Redcocks are a strike fighter squadron stationed at NAS Lemoore as part of Commander, Strike Fighter Wing, U.S. Pacific Fleet (CSFWP). CSFWP provides combat-ready strike fighter squadrons trained to conduct carrier-based, all weather, attack, fighter and support missions as required by fleet commanders.
CSFWP maintains close liaison with Commander Naval Air Forces, U.S. Pacific Fleet and embarked Air Wing commanders in the execution of this mission. For more news from Commander, Naval Air Forces, visit www.navy.mil/local/airpac/.