By Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Ryan McFarlane, USS Ronald Reagan Public Affairs
PHILIPPINE SEA – Cmdr. David B. Waidelich assumed command of Carrier Airborne Early Warning Squadron (VAW) 115 from Cmdr. Michael D. France during a change of command ceremony aboard the U.S. Navy’s only forward-deployed aircraft carrier USS Ronald Reagan (CVN 76), Nov. 14.
The ceremony was highlighted by a fly-by performed when both pilots broke from formation signifying the change of command.
“I am most proud of this team as a whole,” said France. “This group of people came together as a team to achieve one goal; mission accomplishment. I will miss working with them on a daily basis in the unique environment that is the forward deployed naval forces. Although it’s fast paced and the tempo is high we have never failed to come together as a team. I’ll miss the strong sense of mission accomplishment these people bring to the fight, that’s the bottom line.”
Upon being relieved of command, France had words of thanks for VAW-115 and its company of more than 100 Sailors.
“I want to thank the men and women of VAW-115 for making this a fantastic tour all round,” said France. “I want to thank their families for their sacrifice. I know this tour is fast paced and demanding, but every day people come to work with a smile on their face and a sense of pride. I want to thank them for that.”
Waidelich, who served as the executive officer of VAW-115 under France, said he plans on continuing the tradition of excellence France set in motion.
“I’m looking forward to building on the foundation of excellence skipper France laid for us during his time in command,” said Waidelich. “He has taken the squadron to great places. I am looking forward to fine tuning and keeping the improvements going.”
Upon becoming the commanding officer of VAW-115, Waidelich had words of advice and thanks for Sailors.
“Work each and everyday to improve yourself, shipmates and the squadron,” said Waidelich. “What makes us a great organization is how we improve ourselves everyday. Nothing is more impressive than what goes on during flight operations when young men and women work together to serve our country. Be proud of what you do. It’s great to be a part of this team.”