USS HARRY S. TRUMAN, At Sea (NNS) -- The "Zappers" from Electronic Attack Squadron (VAQ) 130 upheld the time-honored aviation tradition of an airborne change of command ceremony Aug. 12.
The "Zappers", assigned to Carrier Air Wing (CVW) 3 aboard USS Harry S. Truman (CVN 75), have operating in the 5th Fleet Area of Operations in support of Operation Enduring Freedom since June 29.
During the fly-by ceremony, the squadron bid a formal farewell to Cmdr. Jeff Hammer and welcomed the promotion of Cmdr. Robert Coughlin from executive officer to commanding officer.
Shortly after the change of command, Hammer departed Truman in a C-2 "Greyhound" for his next assignment at the Joint Forces Staff College in Washington D.C., after which he will serve with the Defense Security Cooperation Agency.
"He was a very well-grounded, methodical, and focused leader," said Coughlin. "I want to continue to build upon that command climate in which every person has the opportunity and desire to succeed."
Coughlin and the new Executive Officer, Cmdr. Richard Vaccaro, said the ceremony at sea in an operational environement was appropriate.
"I have been very impressed with the professionalism throughout the squadron and it is an honor to be out here at sea," said Vaccaro, who reported to the squadron July 20. "It never ceases to amaze me how many people are involved in the safe launch and recovery of aircraft. It's mind-boggling when you consider the number of people that are involved in a single launch or recovery, and the fact that we do it so many times a day without a hiccup is what impresses me the most."
Although both Coughlin and Vaccaro are focused on supporting the mission at hand, they look forward to leading the squadron in the transition from the EA-6B Prowler to the EA-18G Growler when the Zappers return from deployment, and their role in shaping the next chapter in the squadron's legacy.
"I have been saying this since I arrived as executive officer in May 2009—in 27 years, this is the finest team I have ever seen and I am honored to be a part of it," said Coughlin.
VAQ-130 is the oldest electronic warfare squadron in the Navy. Since their inception in 1959, the Zappers have fought with pride, professionalism and purpose around the world, earning three Battle "E" awards for operational excellence, four Safety "S" awards, and four "Prowler of the Year" awards for tactical excellence.
For more news from USS Harry S. Truman (CVN 75), visit www.navy.mil/local/cvn75/.