US Naval Air Forces Changes Command

Commander, Naval Air Forces (CNAF) held a change of command ceremony aboard the aircraft carrier USS John C. Stennis (CVN 74) at Naval Air Station North Island Jan. 22.

During the ceremony, Vice Adm. Mike Shoemaker relieved Vice Adm. David H. Buss as CNAF.

While serving as the Navy’s “Air Boss” since October 2012, Buss ensured the material readiness, administration, and training for all Naval Aviation commands and provided operationally ready squadrons and aircraft carriers to the fleet. He also led the Naval Aviation Enterprise, a partnership between Navy and Marine Corps aviation organizations that work closely to improve processes for more efficient and effective Naval Aviation forces.

During his tenure, Buss oversaw the fleet acceptance of the E-2D Advanced Hawkeye; led the developmental testing of the F-35C Lightning II and the X-47B unmanned aerial system aboard the aircraft carrier; ensured the readiness of USS Carl Vinson (CVN 70) and USS George H.W. Bush (CVN 77) prior to their deployments in support of Operation Inherent Resolve; and prepared the first operational deployment of the P-8A Poseidon and the Navy’s inaugural manned-unmanned expeditionary squadron aboard a littoral combat ship.

Retired Adm. Joseph W. Prueher was the guest speaker. Commander, U.S. Pacific Fleet, Adm. Harry B. Harris Jr., presented Buss with the Distinguished Service Medal on behalf of the president for displaying extraordinary strategic vision, analytical insight and inspirational leadership as CNAF.

Immediately following the change of command, Buss retired after 36 years of naval service.

Shoemaker is a 1982 graduate of the U.S. Naval Academy and native of St. Petersburg, Florida. As a flag officer, he served as assistant commander, Navy Personnel Command for Career Management (PERS-4) and Naval Air Force Atlantic. His command tours include Strike Fighter Squadron (VFA) 105, VFA-106, Carrier Air Wing 17, Carrier Strike Group (CSG) 9 and CSG 3.

CNAF, headquartered at Naval Air Station North Island, effectively mans, trains and equips 10 combat-ready aircraft carriers, 10 carrier air wings, 170 squadrons and more than 100,000 personnel.

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Press release, Image: US Navy