VP-26 Holds Change of Command Ceremony


Story Number: NNS070507-18Release Date: 5/7/2007 4:09:00 PM
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By Lt. j.g. Kyle Malone, Patrol Squadron 26 Professional Development Public Affairs

BRUNSWICK, Maine (NNS) -- The "Tridents" of Patrol Squadron (VP) 26 held their change of command ceremony May 4 during which Cmdr. Greg Cozad relinquished command to Cmdr. Kevin King, the squadron's executive officer for the past year.

The squadron, joined by the guest of honor Capt. Tyrone Payton, commander Patrol and Reconnaissance Wing 5, as well as family, friends, and other distinguished visitors, conducted the ceremony at Hangar 6 aboard Naval Air Station Brunswick.

The completion of the ceremony marked the end of a highly successful tour for Cozad, who took command during the squadron's last operational deployment to Sigonella, Italy.

Under his command, VP-26 continued a record of 44 consecutive years and 310,000 hours of flight without a mishap. Additionally, VP-26 earned the 2006 Arnold J. Isbell Award for Anti-submarine Warfare Excellence and won its fifth consecutive Gold Anchor Award for Retention Excellence.

King spoke quite highly of his predecessor as commanding officer.

"Although [it was] a team effort," he said, "the Tridents' success over the last year would not have been possible without the dedicated leadership of Skipper Cozad."

Upon leaving Brunswick, Cozad will report as a student to the National War College at Fort Lesley J. McNair in Washington.

As he prepared to depart, Cozad praised the Sailors of VP-26, "I am proud and humbled to have been a member of an outstanding group of patriots dedicated to service to our nation."

King, a graduate of Iowa State University, received his commission through the Naval ROTC program in December 1988 and his naval flight officer (NFO) wings in February 1990. Upon the completion of flight training, he joined VP-49 as the communications officer, readiness officer, and NFO training officer. Subsequently, he reported to VP-30 for service as an NFO instructor.

His later tours included a disassociated sea tour aboard USS John C. Stennis (CVN 74), where he served as the catapult and arresting gear officer, a shore tour at the Naval Personnel Command in Millington, Tenn., and a department head tour with VP-8 in Brunswick. Immediately before reporting to VP-26 in March 2006, King worked for commander Task Force 67 in Naples, Italy as the current operations officer.

King assumed command of VP-26 in the midst of a busy period. Throughout the next year, he will be tasked with leading the squadron through the remainder of its Inter-Deployment Readiness Cycle, managing several crews in support of operations throughout the world, and executing the squadron's next deployment.

VP-26 also welcomed its new executive officer, Cmdr. Andy Westerkom, who served as the maintenance/logistics officer for Patrol and Reconnaissance Force 7th/5th Fleet.

For more news from around the fleet, visit www.navy.mil.

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