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Commander, Naval Air Force Atlantic

HSM-40 Welcomes Commanding Officer

by Ensign Hannah Smith, Commander, Naval Air Force Atlantic Public Affairs
01 August 2023 Capt. David Bizzarri was relieved by Cmdr. David Bigay during a change of command ceremony for the “Airwolves” of Helicopter Maritime Strike Squadron (HSM) 40 on Naval Station Mayport, July 20.  

HSM-40 CoC
SLIDESHOW | 3 images | HSM-40 CoC HSM-40 CoC
A native of Fairfax, Virginia, Bizzarri will leave HSM-40 to serve as the deputy commander for Helicopter Maritime Strike Wing Atlantic. He served as commanding officer of HSM-40 from August 2022 to July 2023.

“I am incredibly honored and humbled to have had the opportunity to lead the men and women of HSM-40. This is an especially bittersweet ending as I started my aviation career here as a brand new fleet replacement pilot in 2003,” said Bizzarri. “I have also served at HSM-40 as an instructor and I have done all of my refresher training prior to both my department head and command tours with the Airwolves.”

Bizzarri reflected on the men and women he has served with over the years.

“I feel very fortunate to have had this opportunity to serve with them one more time,” said Bizzarri. “I know the squadron will be in good hands as Cmdr. Bigay takes command. We have known each other for a long time and I am looking forward to working together again.”

During his 12-month tour as commanding officer, Bizzarri meticulously managed the Airwolves’ team of 603 Sailors, 125 civilian and 12 international personnel, graduating 108 fleet replacement pilots and aircrewmen and 309 enlisted landing signalmen. Under Bizzarri’s command he emphasized a strong safety culture and facilitated unparalleled training for the MH-60R warfighters.  

A native of Elizabethtown, Kentucky, Bigay previously served at Naval Aviation Warfighting Development Center (NAWDC) prior to taking command of HSM-40. During his naval career, Bigay has accumulated over 3,000 mishap-free flight hours in eight different variants of naval aircraft.

“I am honored beyond measure to have the opportunity to serve alongside the men and women of HSM-40 once again,” said Bigay. “The Airwolves have thrived under Skipper Bizzarri's outstanding leadership and I can’t wait to watch them continue to excel in producing the world’s finest tactical maritime rotary wing aviators.”

Bigay reflected on the talent of the men and women of the Airwolves which will help ensure that the Helicopter Maritime Strike community will be ready to meet any challenge in the maritime environment and win.

“The next conflict will almost certainly require our newly qualified HSM pilots and aircrew to be able to perform in combat against peer adversaries on day one of entering the fleet,” said Bigay. “To that end, we will remain laser focused on meeting that fleet demand by providing world-class aviation maintenance, flight instruction, and administrative and support functions.”

HSM-40 is one of two MH-60R Fleet Replacement Squadrons (FRS) that train pilots and aircrew across the U.S. Naval Air Forces, along with foreign students from around the globe. Students train in Naval Aviation’s premiere rotary wing ASW weapons system, the MH-60R Seahawk.

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