USS ABRAHAM LINCOLN, At Sea (NNS) -- The Bounty Hunters of Strike Fighter Squadron (VFA) 2 held a change of command ceremony, April 25, while deployed with USS Abraham Lincoln (CVN 72).
Cmdr. James Bates relieved Cmdr. Patrick Greene as commanding officer.
The airborne ceremony took place over Lincoln's flight deck, while squadron crew members looked on. Greene passed the lead of the aircraft formation to Bates, symbolizing the transfer of authority and the official change of command.
In traditional fashion, the officers of VFA-2 celebrated Greene's last flight in the command by wetting him down upon landing. Following the wetting down, Greene briefly addressed the squadron. Capt. Dave Silkey, commander, Carrier Air Wing (CVW) 2, presented him with a Meritorious Service Medal.
"It has been a tremendous honor to serve as the 52nd commanding officer of Strike Fighter Squadron Two," said Greene. "I wish to extend my sincerest appreciation and heartfelt gratitude to our officers, chiefs and Sailors for their extraordinary efforts during the course of two incredibly demanding combat deployments and two arduous work-up cycles. Our Sailors accomplish amazing things every day, and it has been an absolute privilege to have worked with them and the entire Carrier Strike Group (CSG) 9 team."
Greene assumed command of VFA-2 March 18, 2011. During his tour, the Bounty Hunters earned the 2011 Commander, Naval Air Forces Pacific Fleet Battle Effectiveness (Battle "E") and the 2011 CNAF Rear Adm. C. Wade McClusky Awards.
Bates most recently was an instructor at VFA-106. He was born in Greenwich, Conn., enlisted in the Navy in 1987, graduated from the United States Naval Academy in 1995 and was designated a naval flight officer in November 1996.
"I could not have asked for a better mentor to serve with during my tour as executive officer. Cmdr. Greene will be missed," said Bates. "His leadership and all the hard work every Bullet Sailor has put in transformed VFA-2 into the finest strike fighter squadron in the Navy."
Bates' previous assignments include flying the F-14 Tomcat; flying with Fighter Squadron (VF) 154; as a strike fighter tactics instructor at Strike Fighter Weapons School, Atlantic; at VFA-213 flying the F/A-18F Super Hornet and as training officer of VFA-106.
VFA-2 is one of nine squadrons that make up CVW 2, embarked aboard Lincoln. Lincoln is the flagship for CSG 9, which also includes guided-missile cruiser USS Cape St. George (CG 71) and Destroyer Squadron 9, composed of USS Momsen (DDG 92) and USS Sterett (DDG 104). CSG 9 is deployed to the U.S. 5th Fleet area of responsibility conducting maritime security operations, theater security cooperation efforts and support missions as part of Operation Enduring Freedom.
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