The “Bear Aces” of Airborne Command & Control Squadron (VAW) 124 stationed aboard Naval Station Norfolk held a change of command ceremony, Dec. 3, to mark a transition of command leadership.
During the change of command event, Cmdr. Jonathan Faraco of Fort Lauderdale, Florida assumed all duties and responsibilities as the VAW-124 commanding officer from Cmdr. Matthew Olson of Bolingbrook, Illinois.
Established on Sept. 1, 1967, VAW-124’s mission is to provide tactical command and control to aircraft carrier strike groups. The squadron is currently attached to Carrier Air Wing Eight (CVW-8).
Although VAW-124 operates some of the oldest E-2C aircraft in the fleet, the squadron achieved an impressive percent sortie completion rate during Olson’s tenure. The E-2 community provides vital tactical command and control functions for a variety of missions, including air defense, maritime employment, air interdiction, search and rescue, offensive air support, and humanitarian assistance/disaster relief.
Olson served as both executive officer and commanding officer of VAW-124. Since arriving at the Bear Aces in June 2018, he has led 159 officers and enlisted personnel through a variety of events, including Combined Exercise WESTLANT, Exercise Combat Archer, Operation Savage Ice, and Exercise Neptune Hawk.
Olson also led his squadron in supporting three Independent Steaming Events aboard the Navy’s newest commissioned aircraft carrier, USS Gerald R. Ford (CVN 78). Under his command, the Bear Aces were able to successfully execute cyclic carrier flight operations for the first time in USS Gerald R. Ford’s (CVN 78) history, as well as carrier qualifications and flight deck certification aboard USS Abraham Lincoln (CVN 72), and USS Dwight D. Eisenhower (CVN 69).
“My goal was to provide mission-capable aircraft for a variety of challenging events in support of CVW-8 tasking,” said Olson.
Faraco, who also served as VAW-124’s executive officer, emphasized Olson’s commitment to leadership and dedication to duty while commanding VAW-124.
“I am honored to relieve Cmdr. Olson and assume the duties and responsibilities as the next commanding officer of VAW-124,” said Faraco. “I look forward to ensuring the squadron is ready to support the varied missions our squadron will be charged with during my tenure as the commanding officer.”