USS HARRY S. TRUMAN, At Sea (NNS) -- The "Gunslingers" of Strike Fighter Squadron (VFA) 105 held a change of command aboard USS Harry S. Truman (CVN 75) Dec. 2.
Cmdr. Rob Mathewson relieved Cmdr. Max Shuman as commanding officer of VFA 105.
As VFA-105's commanding officer, Shuman led the squadron through a 17-month Fleet Response Training Plan, culminating in a seven-month combat deployment in support of Operations Enduring Freedom and New Dawn.
"I couldn't have been more proud to have served with skipper Shuman," said Capt. Jay Bynum, commander, Carrier Air Wing (CVW) 3. "Both from his peers, and my own perspective, he's among the best there is. And it shows in the performance of his squadron, from their tactics to their proficiency to their innovation. He led a wonderful team, true to our principles and the Navy core values, and that's something that just doesn't happen by accident."
In preparation for the deployment, Shuman seized the opportunity for the Gunslingers to sharpen their edge with unit level training, large force exercises, and extensive close air support (CAS) training with both joint and coalition joint terminal air controllers. Training included numerous exercises where the latest tactics, techniques, and procedures were practiced.
In May 2010, the Truman left its homeport in Norfolk, Va., for a seven-month combat deployment in support of ground operations in Afghanistan. Under Shuman's leadership, VFA-105 sustained impressive combat readiness by participating in an international exercise with British and French soldiers, simulating CAS scenarios in both the Azores and the Mediterranean.
VFA-105 also participated in the Hyeres Air Show celebrating the 100th anniversary of French naval aviation which included dissimilar air combat training with French Rafales and Super Etendards aircraft.
While operating under Shuman's leadership in the 5th fleet area of responsibility, the squadron completed an exceptional 98 percent of scheduled combat missions, yielding more than 700 close air support missions and more than 4,000 combat flight hours.
"In positions of leadership, one is measured by the successes of those led," said Shuman. "The Gunslingers achieved great success while facing very real challenges. I took over a squadron that was just about done with work ups, or so we thought. We knew exactly what we would be doing, we just didn't know when. Rather than lay out what we would do or strive to do, I tried to create a command philosophy that laid out what we would be, as individuals and as a team, in service to our mission and the Navy. And we never stopped moving forward; there is no quit in this organization. For that I am most proud."
Shuman's next assignment will be with USS Theodore Roosevelt (CVN 71) as the operations officer.
For more news from USS Harry S. Truman (CVN 75), visit www.navy.mil/local/cvn75/.