Story by Petty Officer 2nd Class Alex Van’tLeven, Navy Public Affairs Support Element, Det. Northwest
OAK HARBOR, Wash. – Sailors, civilian personnel and family members gathered for a Commander, Electronic Attack Wing, U.S. Pacific Fleet, (COMVAQWINGPAC) change of command ceremony held at Naval Air Station Whidbey Island (NASWI), March 10.
Capt. Tabb B. Stringer assumed command of COMVAQWINGPAC from Capt. Scott T. Farr, who took command in Sept. 2015. Vice Adm. Mike Shoemaker, commander, Naval Air Forces (COMNAVAIRFOR), participated in the event as the guest speaker and overseeing officer.
“The change of command is one of the Navy’s oldest standing traditions. In a few moments Capt. Farr, and Capt. Stringer will read their orders, exchange salutes, and report to me that they’ve properly changed command of all electronic attack forces,” said Shoemaker. “With this one, seemingly simple act, ultimate authority will shift from one officer to the next, according to navy regulations, and in front of their assembled Sailors. This has been done countless times throughout Navy history. It goes without saying that privilege of command is an awesome responsibility.”
COMVAQWINGPAC is responsible for training, manning, equipping and supporting electronic attack warfare missions around the world. Shoemaker spoke of the strategic importance of NASWI and the role it plays in the Navy’s electronic war fighting capabilities.
“The strategic value of this base is immeasurable. We couldn’t afford to replicate Ault field, with its robust and growing infrastructure, as a home to all of our growler squadrons, in the west coast maritime patrol and reconnaissance fleet, anywhere else in the continental United States,” said Shoemaker. “This is why we are forever grateful to have the support of our elected officials, local community, and organizations, such as, the Whidbey Island Navy league.”
Outgoing Capt. Farr thanked friends and family for supporting him throughout his tour at Whidbey Island. During his time as commanding officer two pilots were involved in an on deck incident on Dec. 16, 2016. He attributed their recovery to the professionalism of the attack wing.
“You guys being here today is the best part of this tour,” said Farr. “it was made possible by the professionalism, heroics, and courage of the men and women who serve the electronic attack wing and team Whidbey.”
After the reading of official orders, Capt. Stringer, now fully in command, addressed the crew and the future of the air wing. Two guiding command principles were the foundation of his speech.
“Number one, set the conditions for success. Number two, leave it better than you found it. When your faced with challenges, and you ask yourself, does it set us up for success both today and tomorrow, and does it make it better for those that come after me, those that succeed us. If the answer is yes to both of those questions, then you are aligned with what I want you to do, and what I’m asking you to do,” Capt. Stringer said in conclusion.