FALLON, Nev. (NNS) -- Naval Strike and Air Warfare Center (NSAWC) held a change of command ceremony on board Naval Air Station (NAS) Fallon June 26.
Rear Adm. Mark I. Fox relieved Rear Adm. Mark T. Emerson during the ceremony.
Military and civilian dignitaries, NSAWC personnel, family and friends were present to bid farewell to Emerson and welcome Fox and his family to NAS Fallon and the Fallon community. Fox is the eigth 2-star admiral to command NSAWC since its inception in 1996.
Vice Adm. Thomas J. Kilcline Jr., commander, Naval Air Forces served as guest speaker and presented the Distinguished Service Medal to Emerson for his exceptional meritorious service in improving naval aviation training, doctrine and combat effectiveness while serving as NSAWC commander.
"I've worked and flown with both of these men and feel very strongly about their leadership of our center for strike and air warfare" said Kilcline about the outgoing and incoming NSAWC commanders. "Because of Waldo (Emerson) and leaders like him, NSAWC has seen a tremendous change, and with MRT (Fox) I know it will continue to evolve, ensuring that naval aviation remains the premier combat ready air force in the world."
During his speech, Kilcline touched on several of Emerson's accomplishments while serving as NSAWC commander, of particular note was Emerson's contribution to current combat operations.
"NSAWC truly evolved to meet the reality of contemporary strike warfare," said Kilcline. "They trained and equipped thirteen carrier air wing detachments, four air wing sustainment detachments, fifteen advanced readiness programs, nineteen joint terminal attack controller classes including two for the Dutch. At the same time they helped guide a short-notice requirement to provide critical precision strike special operations forces training to over forty Air force and Army joint terminal attack controllers in Afghanistan in support of Operation Enduring Freedom. It will take us years to measure his impact."
Along with turning over command of NSAWC, Emerson retired following 33 years of naval service
During his speech, Emerson shared moments of his career and his history in the Fallon community.
"Fallon is where I began to learn my craft. First as a light attack pilot, then as a strike fighter pilot and Fallon is where it is concluded for me," said Emerson. "Yesterday was just an awesome flight and I can't think of a better way to go out. So for me, the flying and the career have come full circle here in Fallon, Nevada."
NSAWC is the center of excellence for naval aviation training and tactics development in integrated strike warfare, weapons employment, irregular warfare, and maritime and overland air superiority.
For more news from Naval Strike and Air Warfare Center, visit www.navy.mil/local/nsawc/.