OAK HARBOR, Wash. (NNS) -- The Fighting Marlins of Patrol Squadron (VP) 40 held a change of command ceremony on board NAS Whidbey Island, June 15.
During the ceremony, Cmdr. Patrick O'Reilly relieved Cmdr. Scott Coonan as the commanding officer of VP-40. The ceremony is one of the Navy's oldest traditions, and signifies to the Sailors a transfer of authority and responsibility from one commanding officer to the next.
Serving as guest speaker, Capt. Kevin Long, commodore of Patrol and Reconnaissance Wing 10, presented the outgoing commander with the Meritorious Service Medal to commemorate the squadron's achievements during his tenure.
Coonan, a native of Orange Park, Fla., graduated from the United States Naval Academy in May 1999, earning a Bachelor of Science Degree in Ocean Engineering. His military career has spanned the globe over six operational and instructor tours of duty.
"We have faced challenges I have never seen a command face before, and have come out stronger on the backside of them because of you," said Coonan. "It is because of each and every one of you that VP-40 will be called upon again in the future. Thank you for your selfless service to our nation. I am humbled to have had the opportunity to work alongside you."
O'Reilly will command VP-40 through the last inter-deployment readiness cycle of an active duty P-3C squadron.
"I have heard folks describe the P-3 and it's replacement as weapon systems," said O'Reilly. "I would like to clarify that at VP-40, you are the weapon system of tomorrow's force. Whether in a P-3 today or a P-8 tomorrow, you are fighters in the making. As the last VP squadron to transition, you must remember proudly each time you walk to that aircraft to fix it, fly it, or fight it: today's flight is tomorrow's legacy."
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