NAS LEMOORE (June 6) – Commander Matthew Morgan relieved Commander Nicholas Smetana as Commanding Officer, Strike Fighter Squadron Nine Four (VFA-94) during a Change of Command ceremony held onboard Naval Air Station Lemoore.
Cmdr. Matthew Morgan, from Hilton Head, South Carolina relieved Cmdr. Nicholas Smetana from Racine, Wisconsin as the Skiper of the “Mighty Shrikes” during the ceremony. Cmdr. Smetana assumed command in March 2018 and led the Shrikes during a combat deployment in support of Operations INHERENT RESOLVE and FREEDOM’S SENTINEL. After the deployment, the squadron transitioned from Lot 25 APG-73 to Lot 30+ APG-79 Super Hornets with H14 software and equipped with the new Infrared Search and Track (IRST) pods. During combat and four training detachments, the Shrikes established themselves as one of the top performing squadrons in the Fleet. Cmdr. Smetana’s leadership and guidance have left a lasting impact on the squadron. His next duty assignment is at the Pentagon where he will serve as part of N98 Special Projects Office.
“Shrikes, it has been the honor of a lifetime. I wish you the absolute best of luck on work-ups, deployment, in your careers, and in your lives. I can’t possibly thank you enough for everything you have meant to me. SHWFOTS!” – Cmdr. Nicholas Smetana
Cmdr. Morgan is the 52nd Commanding Officer to lead VFA-94 and assumes command at a crucial point in the beginning of work-up, as the command prepares for the upcoming deployment. Prior to commanding VFA-94, Cmdr. Morgan began his fleet aviator career as a junior officer with the Jolly Rogers of VF-103 as an F-14 Radar Intercept Officer. In 2005, he was selected for transition to pilot training and was designated a Naval Aviator in May 2007. After completing F/A-18 specific training in May 2008, he reported to the Diamondbacks of VFA-102 forward deployed to Atsugi, Japan. In March 2012, Cmdr. Morgan joined the Bounty Hunters of VFA-2. Following his Department Head tour, Cmdr. Morgan reported to United States Special Operations Command (USSOCOM) for staff duty in October 2014. Cmdr. Morgan has accumulated over 3,000 flight hours and 650 carrier arrested landings. His awards include the Defense Meritorious Service Medal, Strike/Flight Air Medal, Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medal, Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal, and various other unit and campaign awards.
“I am humbled and honored to be a part of this exceptional organization. We have the most capable Strike Fighter aircraft in the world and finest Sailors in the Navy. The Shrikes represent all that is good about Naval Aviation. SHWFOTS!” – Cmdr. Matthew Morgan
Cmdr. Nicoletti assumed the role of Executive Officer. Hailing from Point Pleasant, New Jersey, his previous assignment was in the National Capital region with the Defense Intelligence Agency