US Navy welcomes 8th Air Boss

US Navy Vice Adm. DeWolfe H. Miller III became the eighth Naval Air Forces (CNAF) Commander, relieving Vice Adm. Mike Shoemaker in a change of command ceremony at Naval Air Station North Island, January 11.

Vice Chief of Naval Operations Adm. Bill Moran was the guest speaker. Commander, US Pacific Fleet Adm. Scott H. Swift presented Shoemaker with the Distinguished Service Medal on behalf of the president for displaying extraordinary strategic vision, analytical insight and inspirational leadership as CNAF.

While serving as the Navy’s “Air Boss” since January 2015, Shoemaker 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, Shoemaker focused naval aviation on its founding principles, eliminated barriers to sustaining strike fighter inventory, and secured funding for warfighting readiness. He improved quality of life and quality of service while building the required readiness foundation for USS Gerald R. Ford (CVN 78) through to its commissioning. Shoemaker and his team also manned, trained and equipped multiple carrier strike groups for successful deployments, oversaw the improvement of carrier maintenance, and further development of technology and platforms in the carrier air wing.

Shoemaker thanked all those who supported him throughout his career and commended Miller.

Immediately following the change of command, Shoemaker retired after 35 years of naval service.

Miller addressed the men and women of CNAF for the first time as the Navy’s eight Air Boss and described the value of Naval Aviation.

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.