Strike Fighter Squadron 14 Gets New Commander

The “Tophatters” of Strike Fighter Squadron (VFA) 14 held a change of command ceremony March 20 at Naval Air Station Lemoore.

During the ceremony, Cmdr. Corey L. Pritchard relieved Cmdr. Tommy F. Locke as commander of VFA-14.

Locke, a native of Umatilla, Florida, is a 1994 graduate of the University of Central Florida in Orlando, Florida. As commander of VFA-14, Locke led the oldest squadron in the U.S. Navy through numerous training cycles, to include multiple detachments both ashore and at sea, as well as multiple hardware upgrades for the squadron’s F/A-18E Super Hornet aircraft in preparation for the squadron’s upcoming deployment in late 2015.

Locke’s next assignment will be to serve on the OPNAV N98 Aviation Warfare staff as the F-35 requirements officer at the Pentagon in Washington, D.C.

Pritchard, a native of Kirksville, Missouri, is a 1996 graduate of Southeast Missouri State. A U.S. Fighter Weapon’s School graduate, his career as a naval aviator includes assignments with VFA-115, Strike Fighter Weapons School Pacific, VFA-41, VFA-22, U.S. Army Command and General Staff College, executive officer of VFA-122, and executive officer of VFA-14.

VFA-14 has been in service since 1919, has flown 23 different airframes from the decks of 20 different aircraft carriers. During its 95 years of active service, the “Tophatters” have had a long lineage of quiet professionalism and sustained superior performance.

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Image: US Navy