EAST CHINA SEA (NNS) -- The "Dambusters" of Strike Fighter Squadron (VFA) 195 held a change of command aboard the forward-deployed Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS George Washington (CVN 73) while underway in the East China Sea.
During the ceremony, Cmdr. David-Tavis Pollard assumed command of VFA-195 from Cmdr. David Baird, marking the end of just over two years of combined service as executive and commanding officer for Baird.
"It's been a great privilege to be the commanding officer of the Dambusters and it's a bittersweet moment to move on," said Baird. "I feel confident in turning over command to a good friend, Cmdr. Pollard. I'll miss all the Sailors of VFA-195 and the relationships we have developed together, but, in the Navy it's never goodbye, it's always see ya' later. I'm sure we'll all cross paths again."
In a time-honored naval aviation tradition, VFA-195 Sailors gathered on the flight deck as Baird and Pollard were joined by Capt. William Koyama, commander, Carrier Air Wing (CVW) 5, in airspace above George Washington to read official orders and exchange command followed by a ceremonial fly-by.
Pollard, who previously served as the squadron's executive officer, was humbled as he reflected on his time prior to assuming command and emphasized the importance of being a commanding officer that serves his Sailors.
"My purpose here as commanding officer is very singular, to serve the Sailors of VFA-195 and to develop each one of them to their maximum potential and remove barriers so they can not only succeed here, but in the future," said Pollard. "One thing that I have spent time reflecting on is the last 14 months as executive officer has flown by and it reminds me that our days are numbered. Each one of us needs to keep that in mind and be very purposeful with our lives. That is what I intend to do here; be very purposeful with the time that I am entrusted as commanding officer."
VFA-195, assigned to CVW-5, embarked aboard George Washington, are on patrol supporting maritime security operations and theater security cooperation efforts in the U.S. Seventh Fleet area of operations.