USA: NAS Kingsville Holds Change of Command
Command of Naval Air Station Kingsville changed hands June 21.
Capt. Christopher Misner assumed command from Capt. Mark McLaughlin during a traditional change of command ceremony at the air station Club.
The ceremony not only marked the changing of command for the naval air station, but also the end of a highly successful 27-year active duty career for McLaughlin.
Rear Adm. Jack Scorby, commander, Navy Region Southeast, was the presiding official and guest speaker. He spoke about the foundations of leadership, the absolute responsibilities of command, and delegation of authority. He also presented McLaughlin with the Legion of Merit Medal, citing an unprecedented level of success at every level of command.
“Capt. McLaughlin has overseen more than $100 million in construction projects over the past three years designed to improve mission readiness in support of the Training Air wing TWO mission of training the next generation of Navy and Marine Corps jet/strike aviators,” Scorby told the more than 300 people in attendance. “From upgrades of the runways at NALF Orange Grove and NAS Kingsville, to the addition of 36 new flight line aircraft canopies and more, you don’t have to look very far to see the results of Capt. Mac’s efforts.”
McLaughlin’s award citation noted his
“exceptional meritorious conduct in the performance of outstanding service as commanding officer, NAS Kingsville from June 2010 to June 2013. (His) shore installation management expertise resulted in successful mission accomplishment, remarkable improvements to quality of life, and greatly enhanced community relations between the air station and the local community. His exemplary leadership skills were pivotal to the success of the Naval Air Training Command’s mission to develop tailhook pilots, while following Nay Region Southeast’s guiding principles of teamwork, integrity and professionalism.”
Scorby also paid tribute to McLaughlin’s 27-year aviation career, noting that during that time McLaughlin held a series of progressively challenging assignments, and he performed superbly in each assignment.
As a reflection of McLaughlin’s highly successful command tour, the ceremony included participation by command and community personnel. From the Sailors who stood tall in formation, to the Corpus Christi Veteran’s Band and the “Friends of NAS Kingsville” singers directed by Sandra Messbarger, to Kingsville Mayor Sam Fugate’s presentation of a “Key to the City,” the base-community theme was ever-present.
McLaughlin touched on that relationship during his comments.
Capt. Misner reported to Naval Air Station Kingsville from the Washington, D.C. area, where he served on the staff of the Office of the Secretary of Defense for the past three years. Capt. Misner and his family have been in South Texas for several months, settling into their home in Bishop.
Incoming Commanding Officer Capt. Chris Misner began his remarks by offering praise to McLaughlin – not only for his success in command of the air station – but also his highly-decorated 27-years in naval aviation.
“Capt. McLaughlin has served our Navy and our nation proudly with courage and commitment, dedication and distinction, in peace time and during war,” Misner said. “I want to thank him for providing me a great turnover as I prepare to follow his lead. He offered his own three tenant of success when he assumed command in 2010, and that statement still applies today, whether you are turning over your first apartment after flight school, or turning over a Naval Air Station from one commanding officer to another. ‘If you want your deposit back, leave the ranch better than you found it.’ And Mac did just that. He should consider his deposit returned in full.”
He also spoke about his family’s excitement about moving to South Texas and his personal thrill of assuming command of the Navy’s premier location for jet/strike aviator training.
“My wife Shannon and I are excited to be here, and thrilled at the opportunities that lie ahead over the next three years,” he said. “Without fear of exaggeration I can honestly say that I have n3ever seen a community more dedicated to a command, and a command more determined to see its community succeed.”
Coming from high-tempo duty at the Office of the Secretary of Defense in Washington, D.C., Misner is looking forward to slowing life down a bit; but he admits that will be hard for him to adjust to.
“My charge will be simple,” Capt. Misner stated. “First, take care of the finest Sailors and civilian employees in the Navy who serve on this base. Second, ensure that Training Air Wing TWO has everything it needs to succeed in training the next generation of Navy and Marine Corps jet/strike pilots – for they are the guardians of our Nation’s future security. And third, you must understand that whether or not you work inside the fence line or out, each of you here today makes a difference in the lives of these students, these civilians and these Sailors who work here on this air station. It doesn’t matter if you work on the oil fields, at the University, the King Ranch, the hamburger place down the road or the Stop N’ Lube in downtown Kingsville – you all make a significant contribution to our national security … because people matter.”
Misner closed his remarks with a promise to the command and community.
“Shannon and I make the same pledge to all of you that many of our founding fathers make to their friends and neighbors nearly two and a half centuries ago. For the security of our command, and the success of our community, we pledge our time, our talents, our treasure, our work, our wisdom and our wealth. You cannot demand more … and you do not deserve any less!”
Capt. Misner is a native of Highland, Ind. He earned a Bachelor of Arts Degree in political science from Norwich University, in Vermont, and received his commission through the Navy Reserve Officer Training Corps (ROTC) program. Following primary and advanced helicopter flight training at NAS Whiting Field in Milton, Fla., he earned his Wings of Gold in October 1993.
Press Release, June 27, 2013; Image: US Navy