VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (NNS) -- The “Skylords” of Tactical Air Control Squadron 22 (TACRON 22) held a change of command ceremony at Joint Expeditionary Base Little Creek-Fort Story on Aug. 15, in the Brashear Conference Center.
During the ceremony, Cmdr. Stephen D. Chivers relieved Cmdr. Cory D. Pope as commanding officer.
Pope, a class of 2000 graduate of the United States Naval Academy and a winged Naval Flight Officer with nearly 2400 flight hours in the P3C Orion, reported to the squadron as its executive officer (XO) in March 2017 and “fleeted up” to commanding officer in June 2018.
During his remarks, Pope highlighted the squadron’s achievements.
“Skylords, you are truly an amazing group of Sailors and Marines and I am proud to have been a part of your accomplishments,” said Pope. “It has been my absolute honor and privilege to act as your commanding officer.”
Under Pope's leadership, TACRON 22 deployed air control detachments onboard the Wasp-class amphibious assault ship USS Iwo Jima (LHD 7), conducting military operations throughout Europe, the Middle East, and the Caribbean. These deployed TACRON detachments were responsible for the safe air control of the embarked Navy and Marine Corps aircraft. The squadron supported more than 3,200 operational flight hours by expeditionary air assets accomplishing a wide range of military missions. These military missions included humanitarian assistance-disaster relief following hurricanes Irma and Maria, international partner exercises including Eager Lion, and the NATO exercise Trident Juncture.
Capt. Kirk Weatherly, Expeditionary Strike Group Two Chief of Staff was the guest speaker, and highlighted the squadron’s accomplishments under Cmdr. Pope during his remarks.
“I was extremely impressed with Cmdr. Pope and his TACRON team over the last two years, and in particular the dedicated support and expertise he and his team provided while conducting Defense Support to Civil Authority missions following hurricanes Irma and Maria,” said Weatherly. “Cory’s leadership, guidance, and vision have sharpened TACRON 22, and the TACRON community as a whole. Thank you for a job well done.”
From TACRON 22, Pope will proceed to his follow-on assignment at U.S. 3rd Fleet in San Diego.
Prior to assuming command, Chivers was TACRON 22’s executive officer. Addressing the squadron for the first time as their commanding officer, Chivers expressed his excitement at starting his new role.
“It was my singular honor serving as executive officer for Cmdr. Cory Pope,” said Chivers. “Thanks to his leadership and vision, the Skylords are better postured to conduct safe and combat-effective expeditionary air operations. We will continue down the path of excellence he provided in preparing for future deployments.”
Chivers is a class of 2001 graduate of the United States Naval Academy. He is a winged Naval Flight Officer, a Weapons and Tactics Instuctor, and a TOPGUN Air Intercept Controller, with nearly 2000 hours in the E-2 Hawkeye.
Since 1949, the mission of TACRON 22 has been to train, deploy and support combat-ready detachments providing centralized planning, control, coordination and integration of amphibious and expeditionary combat air operations.
For more information about Tactical Air Control Squadron 22, visit https://www.public.navy.mil/surflant/tacron22/Pages/default.aspx
For more news from Expeditionary Strike Group 2, visit www.navy.mil/local/esg2/.