PACIFIC OCEAN (NNS) -- The Lemoore, California-based "Argonauts" of Strike Fighter Squadron (VFA) 147 bid "fair winds and following seas" to their commanding officer (CO) during a ceremony aboard aircraft carrier USS Nimitz (CVN 68) in the Western Pacific, Nov. 16.
Members of the squadron and Carrier Air Wing (CVW) 11 watched as Cmdr. Chris "Pops" Papaioanu passed command of the Argonauts to Cmdr. Pat "Ernie" Corrigan on the flight deck.
A change of command ceremony is a time-honored tradition conducted before assembled Sailors to announce the passing of command authority. It is the immediate transfer of total responsibility, authority, and accountability from one individual to another. This event was even more special since it occurred at sea on deployment, representing the pinnacle of Naval Aviation.
Capt. Michael Spencer, commanding officer of CVW-11, praised the Argonauts for their exemplary work during deployment and thanked Papaioanu for leading the team to excellence.
"It's been truly impressive," Spencer said. "Pops, thank you for guiding this team and bringing them to this point. You all have made the extraordinary look ordinary. You never even broke a sweat, and that is what you guys do each and every day."
During Papaioanu's 15 months in command, the Argonauts conducted a rigorous pre-deployment workup cycle, ensuring the Argonaut team was ready for its six-month combat deployment. Together, the team supported three months of sustained combat operations in the U.S. 5th Fleet area of responsibility in direct in support of Operation Inherent Resolve.
Papaioanu attributed the squadron's success to his team and spoke of the confidence he has in Corrigan as he transfers command.
"You were ready to do this job as the CO the day you walked in as the XO (executive officer) and I know you're going to take the squadron to new heights," Papaioanu said.
To his team, he said, "It was humbling to watch you guys. I can't thank you enough for what you guys accomplished."
Papaioanu will continue his naval career at Naval Air Station Fallon, Nevada, where he will command the U.S. Navy Strike Fighter Tactics Instructor program, known as Top Gun.
Back in Lemoore, Corrigan will lead the squadron through its transition early next year from the F/A-18E Super Hornet to the F-35C Lightning II Joint Strike Fighter, making the Argonauts the first operational squadron in the U.S. Navy to receive the aircraft.
For more information about Carrier Air Wing 11, visit http://www.cvw11.navy.mil/
For more information about Carrier Strike Group 11, visit http://www.nimitz.navy.mil/csg_11.html or www.facebook.com/carrierstrikegroupeleven
For more information, visit www.navy.mil, www.facebook.com/usnavy, or www.twitter.com/usnavy.
For more news from Nimitz Carrier Strike Group, visit www.navy.mil/local/csg11/.