The “Redhawks” of Training Squadron (VT) 21 held a change-of-command ceremony at Naval Air Station (NAS) Kingsville, Texas, Aug. 14.
Cmdr. Chris “Boob” Glandon relieved Cmdr. Matt “Meatwad” Maher as commanding officer during a ceremony held at the All Hands Club on base.
Maher, a native of Parker, Colorado, assumed command of VT-21 in May of 2019. During his tenure, Maher oversaw a cadre of 45 instructors dedicated to training Navy and Marine Corps aviators. More than 80 pilots received their Wings of Gold under his leadership.
“Leading the Redhawks has been a great privilege, and I could not be more proud of our team’s stellar accomplishments,” Maher said. “We have achieved great success despite incredibly challenging conditions, winging the most Strike and E2/C2 aviators of any squadron in the U.S. Navy while also earning the Safety S, Captain’s Cup Trophy, and numerous other accomplishments. This is a testament to the hard work, dedication, and commitment to excellence our Redhawk team displays on a daily basis. The future of Naval Aviation is bright, and I am humbled to have led the Redhawks as we contributed to its long and storied history of producing the world’s best aviators. The Redhawks will be in good hands with Cmdr. Glandon at the controls, and will undoubtedly continue to realize many more successes in the future. Lead well, fly well, and I wish you all the best in your pursuit of the ever elusive perfect flight! Go Redhawks!”
Commodore, Training Air Wing 2 Capt. Brett “Ned” Lassen presided over the small ceremony.
“Cmdr. Maher’s work here has been nothing short of outstanding,” Lassen said. “His leadership is reflected in the high quality of graduates we have sent and will continue to send to the FRS (fleet replacement squadrons). What Cmdr. Maher and his team have done at VT-21 has a direct impact on future fleet readiness and our nation’s ability to defend America’s interests at home and abroad.”
Maher, a graduate of Metropolitan State University in Denver, received his Wings of Gold in 2003 and reported to the "Vikings" of Electronic Attack Squadron (VAQ) 129 at NAS Whidbey Island, Washington, for initial training in the Grumman EA-6B Prowler. He served with the “Cougars” of VAQ-139 completing three deployments in the Western Pacific and flew combat missions in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom. In January 2008, Maher reported to Strike Fighter Squadron (VFA) 106 to complete training in the F/A-18 and instruct at the Fleet Replacement Squadron (FRS). Additionally, Maher instructed at VAQ-129 and completed his department head tour from 2013-2016 with the “World Famous Black Ravens” of VAQ-135. In 2016 Maher reported to North American Air Defense (NORAD) and United States Northern Command (USNORTHCOM) at Peterson Air Force Base, Colorado Springs, Colorado. Following his tour at VT-21, Maher will report to Training Air Wing 2.
Glandon is a native of Sigourney, Iowa. A graduate of Iowa State University, he earned his Wings of Gold as a naval aviator in February 2005. He served with Strike Fighter Squadron (VFA) 97 from 2006 to 2009 completing two deployments to the Western Pacific as part of Marine Aircraft Group (MAG) 12. Glandon served as an instructor pilot at VFA-122 in Lemoore, California, from July 2009 to February 2012 and reported to his department head tour with VFA-13 in December 2012. In November 2016, he graduated from the U.S. Naval War College and reported to the U.S. Strategic Command at Offutt Air Force Base, Omaha, Nebraska. Glandon has accumulated more than 2,900 flight hours, including more than 2,000 hours in the F/A-18 alone, and reported to VT-21 in October 2018 as executive officer.
Cmdr. Matt “Brown” Starr, a native of Charlotte, North Carolina, assumed the position of executive officer. Starr, a U.S. Naval Academy graduate, earned his Wings of Gold in 2006. He completed operational tours with the “Liberty Bells” of Carrier Airborne Early Warning Squadron (VAW) 115 and the “Black Eagles” of VAW-113. Starr has accumulated more than 2,800 flight hours and over 280 carrier arrested landings.
VT-21 trains the highest quality aviators for service in the fleet and operational forces. Its personnel include 33 active-duty and 12 Navy Reserve instructor pilots who train more than 70 naval aviators at a given time. VT-21 operated under Training Air Wing 2 as part of the Naval Air Training Command.
LT Michelle Tucker, Chief of Naval Air Training PAO
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