USS ABRAHAM LINCOLN, At Sea (NNS) -- Airborne Early Warning Squadron (VAW) 116 changed hands during a change of command ceremony conducted aboard USS Abraham Lincoln (CVN 72) July 3.
Cmdr. Herb Carmen relieved Cmdr. Randy Blackmon of the "Sun Kings" in the presence of the crew, all of whom were assembled in the aircraft carrier's hangar bay.
Blackmon is transferring to Carrier Strike Force Training, Pacific, in San Diego.
Carmen served as the executive officer of the "Sun Kings" prior to becoming the new commanding officer. Carmen originally came to the "Sun Kings" from Commander, Airborne Command Control and Logistics Wing staff as operations officer.
Carmen was designated a naval aviator in 1993 and has served with the Fleet Logistics Support Squadron (VRC) 40 out of Norfolk. He also served aboard USS George Washington (CVN 73) as part of Operations Joint Endeavor and Southern Watch. From there, Carmen cross-trained with the "Bluetails" of VAW 120 in Norfolk, and served as the aviation safety officer and assistant operations officer.
In 1999, Carmen became an instructor pilot with VAW 120 as well as the assistant training officer, quality assurance officer and E-2C flight demonstration pilot.
Carmen served with the "Liberty Bells" of VAW 115 in Atsugi, Japan, and also deployed with USS Kitty Hawk (CV 63) in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom.
Carmen has logged more than 3,700 flight hours and has been awarded the Defense Meritorious Service medal, three Strike/Flight Air Medals, four Navy Commendation Medals, the Joint Service Achievement Medal and five Navy Achievement Medals.
Based at Point Mugu, Calif., VAW-116 is embarked with Carrier Air Wing (CVW) 2 aboard Abraham Lincoln, which is deployed to the U.S. 5th Fleet area of operations to support maritime security operations (MSO). MSO help develop security in the maritime environment, which promotes stability and global prosperity. These operations complement the counterterrorism and security efforts of regional nations and seek to disrupt violent extremists' use of the maritime environment as a venue for attack or to transport personnel, weapons or other material.
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