NAS LEMOORE – The Vigilantes of Strike Fighter Squadron (VFA) One Five One welcomed a new commanding officer during a change of command ceremony Friday, Dec. 1.

Cmdr. James Kinter, from San Diego, relieved Cmdr. Patrick Hourigan from Mountaintop, Pa. during the ceremony held at Naval Air Station Lemoore. Cmdr. Hourigan assumed command, July 2016. During his tour as commanding officer, VFA-151 exhibited excellence in every facet of its operation. Under his leadership, the command participated in the 2016 Rim of the Pacific (RIMPAC) exercise and earned multiple awards including the Blue “M” award for medical readiness and the Lt. j.g. Bruce Carrier Award for maintenance and safety excellence. Cmdr. Hourigan’s next duty assignment is in Washington, D.C. where he will serve in a fellowship with the Office of Legislative Affairs.

“This tour has been, and probably will remain, the highlight of my career. The highlight of my time here was receiving the Lt. j.g. Bruce Carrier award on behalf of the maintenance department,” said Hourigan. “I couldn't be prouder of the work they and the rest of the Vigilante team have done over the last two and half years. I appreciate all their hard work and sacrifice.”

Cmdr. Kinter is the 58th commanding officer to lead VFA-151 and has assumed command at a crucial point in the work-up phase as the squadron participates in multiple training exercises in preparation for a 2018 deployment. Prior to commanding VFA-151, Kinter served as the executive officer after an assignment with United States Northern Command from March 2014 to January 2016 where he was the Joint Maritime Plans Officer and Executive Assistant to the Deputy Commander USNORTHCOM.

“Skipper Hourigan has done an exceptional job guiding our squadron through a readiness-challenged maintenance period,” said Kinter. “I am truly humbled to take the torch and carry the momentum he has established into work-ups and our impending deployment next year. I look forward to building on our previous success and the challenge of command at sea.”

VFA-151 is an F/A-18E strike fighter squadron stationed at Naval Air Station Lemoore. The squadron was stood up at Naval Air Station Oceana, VA, in 1948 as VF-23 and was later designated as VFA-151 in 1959. The Vigilantes are currently operating as a component of Carrier Air Wing Nine (CVW-9) in preparation for a 2018 deployment aboard USS John C. Stennis.

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