As part of naval tradition, Cmdr. Seth R. Eisenmenger relieved Cmdr. Charles A. Larwood III as Commanding Officer, Patrol Squadron 45 while forward deployed to the U.S. 7th Fleet Area of Operations.
Larwood, a native of Roswell, GA, is a 2004 graduate of the United States Naval Academy. He earned his Naval Aviator wings in December 2006, where he went on to serve tours with VP-45, VP-8, and VX-20 before being assigned command of the Pelicans. His awards include the Navy Commendation Medal (4) and recipient of the National Society, Daughters of the American Revolution Prize. He has flown approximately 2,500 flight hours in over 25 types of aircraft and is a member of the Society of Experimental Test Pilots.
Larwood assumed command of the “World-Famous” Pelicans upon returning home from a deployment to U.S. 7th Fleet in June 2020. Taking the reins in a very dynamic COVID environment, he accepted the challenge head-on. To adapt and succeed, his priority as Skipper was to develop a climate that enabled Sailors to overcome complacency and maintain focus on the mission while balancing the overall health of the force.
“I wanted the squadron to be empowered to exercise the limits of their authorities; create an environment where every Sailor has an equal opportunity to showcase their talents, an environment that appreciates their time and efforts, and one where teammates care for one another – a team whose members were experts in their craft and ultimately forge and sustain a unit ready and willing to lead and win in combat operations,” Larwood said. “Through our mutual leadership, I believe we have achieved those objectives through our character, competence and relationships we’ve built.”
He also reflected on the importance of preserving their achievements.
“The squadron has absolutely succeeded in my vision for what we owe ourselves and the American ideals we protect,” Larwood said. “However, we cannot become complacent from those victories. We strive to continuously maintain those high standards which we have set as well as shore up blind spots. It takes caring leaders at all levels to seize initiative in owning and maintaining a strong force.”
Commander Larwood is passing the torch as Commanding Officer of VP-45 to Cmdr. Seth R. Eisenmenger.
Eisenmenger is native to Clifton, New Jersey. He received his commission through the Naval Reserve Officer Training Corp at the State University of New York, Maritime College in 2003, and subsequently designated as a Naval Flight Officer in December 2005. His operational tours include time with VP-8, VP-45, VP-47 and VP-30. Most recently, he served as a future operations planner while assigned to U.S. Southern Command J35. It was during this tour that he was selected for operational command and ordered to report to VP-45 as the Executive Officer in June 2020.
When asked about taking command of VP-45, Eisenmenger was confident in his squadron’s abilities. “Over the last year I have watched this command operate in a fast-paced, dynamic, and demanding environment. The Pelicans have performed remarkably. We will continue to be a high functioning squadron focused on development, efficiency, and a positive work environment.”
Eisenmenger’s vision for the Pelicans under his leadership will be that “the command will continue its legacy of excellence and continuously seek out opportunities to excel at our profession. We owe it to our shipmates, families and nation to uphold the highest standards of character, competence, and resolve to win. We have not gotten here alone and will continue to develop the relationships needed to maintain our tactical effectiveness.”
The Pelicans take pride in wishing Cmdr. Larwood fair winds and following seas as he begins the next chapter of his career. Larwood will be assuming the position of Commanding Officer, Air Test and Evaluation Squadron (VX) Two Zero, based out of Naval Air Station Patuxent River, MD.
In his final message to the Sailors of VP-45, Cmdr. Larwood said, “You are the reason why our squadron has been so successful despite the challenges we received. We do not have the luxury of choosing those challenges, but only choose our dedication, attitude, and response while tackling them. You have bought into the mission, the process, and each other. We continue to conquer each problem through your competence, work ethic, and teams you have formed. You are tough and resilient – no one can take away your fighting spirit. When I’m old, talking to my grandkids, and they ask me about my life I will proudly respond I was the Commanding Officer of the “World-Famous” Pelicans and led with the finest group of Sailors this world has to offer.”
Patrol Squadron 45, based in Jacksonville, Florida, is operating out of Kadena Air Base in Okinawa, Japan. The squadron is conducting maritime patrol and reconnaissance as well as theater outreach operations within the U.S. 7th Fleet area of operations.
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