It is with a tremendous sense of pride that I bid the hard working, professional women and men leading Naval Aviation on the East Coast, farewell. My time serving as commander of Naval Air Force Atlantic is now over. This position has been one of the most rewarding of my career because of the people I have had the honor to serve with – bright, dedicated, patriotic Americans who are proudly serving our Navy and our nation. Throughout my time in this position, your willingness and ability to get the job correctly done never ceased to amaze me.
Seeing everything this team has accomplished during my tenure has me convinced that Naval Aviation is better and stronger than ever. The highlights below are just that, highlights pulled from a long and extensive list of the achievements and accomplishments of our Sailors.
- December 2016, we celebrated the homecoming of the Dwight D. Eisenhower Carrier Strike Group (CSG) from a seven-month deployment. This was the first successful deployment of a CSG under the Optimized Fleet Response Plan (OFRP) and the lessons learned from this deployment strengthened our confidence in the new standard throughout the entire Navy.
- The George H. W. Bush CSG returned from their seven-month deployment in August 2017. Conducting “prompt and sustained combat power from and at sea,” the strike group delivered a devastating blow to the capabilities of ISIS, allowing our partners on the battlefield to retake large swaths of land in northern Iraq and Syria and regain the strategic initiative.
- In July 2017, we commissioned the newest addition to the Navy’s carrier fleet, USS Gerald R. Ford (CVN 78). Within days of the ship’s commissioning, Ford was at sea proving her advanced technology worked, launching and recovering F/A-18 Super Hornets.
- We also welcome back USS Abraham Lincoln from a four year midlife refueling and USS Harry S. Truman, which wrapped up its planned incremental availability from Norfolk Naval Shipyard two days ahead of schedule.
The accomplishments of our aviators, air crews and maintainers are also too many to list in their entirety, but impressive nonetheless.
- The squadrons of Carrier Air Wings (CVW) Three and Eight, while deployed with Eisenhower and Bush CSGs returned home with record breaking numbers. Combined, these two carriers flew 13,247 sorties, delivered 3,110,000 pounds (1,555 tons) of ordnance and logged a total of 64,268 flight hours and 20,868 successful traps.
- In the wake of hurricanes Harvey, Irma and Maria, numerous helicopter squadrons from the East and West Coasts were manned and ready, providing lifesaving relief efforts and aid. These squadrons are shining examples of the Navy’s capability and readiness to help our fellow Americans in a time of crisis.
While I congratulate our Sailors for their many milestones during my tenure, I must also thank the hundreds of civilians and contractors who serve by their side doing their part to ensure the force stays mission ready. I have every confidence in the people across Naval Aviation’s many commands and believe without reservation that your successes will continue and you will continue to meet every new challenge head on and succeed.
So it is with a great sense of pride and accomplishment that I leave you all. Thank you and good luck to each and every one of you. The honor and privilege has been all mine.
With warm regards and sincere appreciation,