Rear Adm. Robert D. Westendorff relieved Rear Adm. Daniel W. Dwyer as Chief of Naval Air Training (CNATRA) during a ceremony onboard Naval Air Station (NAS) Corpus Christi, June 5.
The small ceremony was broadcast via videoconference and livestreamed to minimize gatherings in accordance with Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Department of Defense, and Navy COVID-19 spread mitigation guidelines.
Commander, U.S. Naval Air Forces Vice Adm. DeWolfe Miller III served as the presiding officer from his command in San Diego via videoconference. The ceremony concluded with the reading of orders at which point Westendorff assumed the role of Chief of Naval Air Training and all duties, burdens, and privileges associated with the position.
Dwyer, a native of Alameda, California, took command of CNATRA in July 2019. During his tenure, 969 naval aviators and 238 naval flight officers earned their Wings of Gold. His team made great strides toward roll out of a new undergraduate flight training curriculum that will use current and emerging technology to facilitate a student-centric learning model, and provide primary phase student naval aviators “on-demand, on-command” access to training resources through personal electronic devices, 360-degree videos, virtual and augmented reality trainers, and air traffic control simulation. Under his watch, the Navy selected the new Advanced Helicopter Training System to replace the aging TH-57 helicopter trainer. This new contract will include 130 TH-73A helicopters to meet advanced rotary-wing and intermediate tilt-rotor training requirements for the Navy, Marine Corps, and Coast Guard. He also oversaw various process improvements and efficiencies in T-6 Texan and T-45 Goshawk aircraft maintenance.
Dwyer is an F/A-18 pilot with more than 3,500 flight hours, 1,100 carrier-arrested landings onboard 11 different aircraft carriers. Dwyer is a graduate of the prestigious Navy Strike Fighter Tactics instructor course, better known as TOPGUN. Prior to assuming command of CNATRA he commanded the Theodore Roosevelt Carrier Strike Group with over 7,000 service members across nine ships, in addition to 80 embarked aircraft. Dwyer is scheduled to transfer to Fort Meade, Maryland, where he will serve as Commander, U.S. Fleet Cyber Command.
“To be responsible for training the next generation of Naval Aviation professionals has been an incredible honor,” Dwyer said. “Our success here has a direct impact on future fleet readiness and the ability for America to defend our freedoms. The staff, instructors, and students have been phenomenal and I am confident Rear Adm. Westendorff will take the team to new heights during his tenure.”
Westendorff, from Paola, Kansas, takes over as CNATRA after serving as chief of staff for Commander, U.S. Naval Air Forces. A designated naval aviator, his operational sea assignments include a department head tour with the “Black Aces” of Strike Fighter Squadron (VFA) 41, commanding officer of VFA-25, the “Fist of the Fleet,” and commander of Carrier Air Wing 11. He has accumulated more than 3,800 flight hours and 900 carrier-arrested landings in various jet aircraft.
“Rear Adm. Dwyer has created an environment of excellence across CNATRA,” Westendorff said. “I look forward to being able to work with such a group of motivated men and women. With this team, there is no doubt in my mind that we will continue CNATRA’s legacy of creating the best Naval Aviation professionals.”
CNATRA, headquartered in Corpus Christi, trains the world’s finest combat quality aviation professionals, delivering them at the right time, in the right numbers, and at the right cost to a naval force that is where it matters, when it matters.
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