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Commander, Naval Air Force Atlantic

VAW-121 holds Change of Command

by U.S. Navy Story by Lt. Michael Thell
04 February 2022 Norfolk, VA. – The “Bluetails” of Airborne Command and Control Squadron (VAW) 121, stationed aboard Naval Air Station Norfolk, Norfolk, Virginia, held a Change of Command ceremony, January 7th, to mark a transition of command leadership. 
 
            During the change of command, the former Executive Officer (XO) of VAW-121, Cmdr. Robert Whitmore, of Norwalk, Iowa, assumed all duties and responsibilities as the Commanding Officer (CO) of VAW-121 from Cmdr. Neil Fletcher, of Chatham, New Jersey. 
 
            During his time at VAW-121 and Carrier Air Wing (CVW) 7, Fletcher transferred the squadron to USS George H.W. Bush and transitioned all of their aircraft to the newest E-2D Advanced Hawkeyes, which are capable of refueling mid-flight.
 
“I believe we finished 2020 ready for the challenges to come,” Fletcher said. “In 2021, we seized opportunities to sharpen our sword – successfully employing aerial refueling for the first time and integrating the state-of-the-art technology and war fighting capability of the newest E-2D aircraft.”
 
Fletcher, then turning the topic toward Whitmore, had high praise to give to the new CO for the squadron, as well as high expectations.
 
“I couldn’t have asked for a better XO,” Fletcher said. “You have been my commandant stalwart support for the past 16 months. You are absolutely ready to assume command and lead this squadron at sea.” 
 
Upon taking command, Whitmore took the podium and gave out a call-to-arms to the whole of VAW-121.
 
“There is a lot in store for the ‘Bluetails,’ and our time is now,” Whitmore said. “There’s a lot that will be asked and expected from us as a squadron and we will deliver.”
 
The Navy’s newest Commanding Officer went on asking his Officers and Sailors to take advantage of every opportunity that presents itself to train, equip, and cultivate excellence in the Squadron, Air Wing, and Strike Group.
 
“I know we are up for the challenge,” Whitmore concluded.
 
VAW-121 provides airborne command and control of the battle-space from the sea, in support of tasking from its chain of command to deliver decisive combat victories. The squadron aims to complete their goals through a focus on mission combat and effective readiness while building and anchoring its Air Wings, Strike Group, or any other entity that needs squadron support.
 
 
 
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