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Commander, Naval Air Force Atlantic

VFA-87 Changes Commanders during Airborne Ceremony

by Commander, Naval Air Force Atlantic Public Affairs
18 September 2020 Strike Fighter Squadron (VFA) 87 conducted an aerial change of command ceremony, Sept. 17, to signify the time honored naval tradition of transferring the responsibilities of command from one commander to another.

Cmdr. Robert Marrs relieved Cmdr. Jason Dalby as the incoming and outgoing commanders conducted their airborne ceremony above Naval Air Station (NAS) Oceana. 

Flying F/A-18E Super Hornets, the outgoing and incoming commanders joined their aircraft in formation. Dalby and Marrs each read their orders over the radios in turn, and the ceremony was concluded when Marrs’ flying his aircraft abeam to Dalby and declared “I have the lead”.  

Dalby, a native of Hannibal, Missouri, previously held command of VFA-87 since June 2019. Dalby led his squadron of officers and sailors known as “The War Party” through pre-deployment work-ups followed by an Indo-Pacific deployment.

Under Dalby’s leadership, the squadron achieved the Commander Strike Fighter Wing Atlantic’s Golden Wrench maintenance award, two Golden Wrench awards from Carrier Air Wing (CVW) 11, and two Medical Blue “M” awards.  

“It was an honor to lead such a fine group of men and women through work-ups and deployment,” Dalby said.  “War Party Sailors constantly excelled in every aspect, and it was an absolute privilege to lead such an outstanding organization.  I am truly humbled that I had the opportunity to serve as the commanding officer of War Party, and I know VFA-87 will continue to maintain the highest standards of excellence as Cmdr. Marrs takes over as the Golden Warriors newest commanding officer."

The “Golden Warriors” boasted and impressive 99.7 percent sortie completion rate due to a high level of performance from the maintenance department that facilitated over 39,723 maintenance actions during Dalby’s tenure as commanding officer.

With Dalby at the helm, the squadron developed a reputation for supplying mission ready F/A-18E Super Hornets, and as a result employed over 51 tons of conventional ordinance along with numerous other expendable munitions.

With the change of command complete, Marrs and the “Golden Warriors” of VFA-87 look to continue the progress made by Dalby as well as to carry on the high reputation for excellence in the strike fighter community. 

Marrs, who hails from Livermore, California, said, “I am honored and humbled to lead this squadron.  Cmdr. Dalby made a lasting impact and set us up for continued success.”

 
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