USS ABRAHAM LINCOLN, At Sea (NNS) -- Carrier Airborne Early Warning Squadron (VAW) 116 held a change of command ceremony Feb. 6 while deployed with USS Abraham Lincoln (CVN 72).
Cmdr. Paul M. Dale relieved Cmdr. N. H. Duong as commanding officer (CO).
The ceremony took place airborne with a symbolic lead change. The lead change represents the passing of responsibility of the flight from one aircraft to another and involved three aircraft, including two E-2C Hawkeyes and one F/A-18C Super Hornet flown by Capt. David Silkey, commander, Carrier Air Wing (CVW) 2.
Duong assumed command of VAW-116 Nov. 9, 2010. During his tour, the Sun Kings completed a transition from the E-2C Hawkeye 2000 to the glass cockpit CNS/ATM variant and deployed twice to the 7th and 5th Fleet areas of responsibility (AOR) with CVW-2, while attached to the Lincoln. Duong received transfer orders to Navy Air and Missile Defense Command in Dahlgren, Va.
"During my time as CO of this squadron, I have witnessed the hard work and selfless dedication by the Sailors in my command," said Duong. "It has been an honor and privilege for me to serve my nation, as we worked together to do our part to defend freedom. I wish the Sun Kings the best during the rest of deployment and beyond."
Dale, now the 38th commanding officer of the Sun Kings, most recently served at Headquarters U.S. Northern Command prior to his assignment as executive officer of VAW-116. A native of Minneapolis, Minn., Dale graduated from the University of Michigan in 1994.
"VAW-116 is in a great position to continue its success," said Dale. "We have several challenges ahead of us during the remainder of this deployment, but they are challenges that we will face as a team. I will strive to uphold the same standards of excellence that our Sun King Sailors have so greatly embodied."
Previous assignments include: USS Lake Erie (CG-70), VAW-112, Naval Strike and Air Warfare Center, and a department head tour at VAW-116.
VAW-116 is one of nine squadrons with CVW-2 which is currently embarked on Lincoln. In addition to Lincoln and CVW-2, the Abraham Lincoln Carrier Strike Group (ALCSG) is comprised of USS Cape St. George (CG 71) and embarked Destroyer Squadron 9 to include USS Momsen (DDG 92) and USS Sterett (DDG 104). ALCSG is deployed to the 5th Fleet AOR conducting maritime security operations, theater security cooperation efforts, and support missions as part of Operation Enduring Freedom.
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