CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas (NNS) -- Training Air Wing (TAW) 4 held a change-of-command ceremony at Naval Air Station (NAS) Corpus Christi, June 3.
Capt. Jeremy “Screamer” Rifas relieved Capt. Kevin “FDR” Delano as commodore during a ceremony held at the Catalina Club on base.
Delano, a native of Sanger, California, assumed command of TAW-4 in July of 2018. During his tenure, Delano oversaw a cadre of around 300 instructors dedicated to training Navy, Marine Corps, and Coast Guard aviators in two types of aircraft: the T-6B Texan II and the T-44C Pegasus. More than 650 pilots received their Wings of Gold under his leadership and nearly 900 completed Primary flight training, executing more than 144,000 flight hours.
“Serving with the men and women of Training Air Wing 4 has been an absolute honor and privilege,” Delano said. “I have been blessed beyond measure to stand along such fine individuals and work together to shape the future of Naval Aviation. This truly was a dream job. So for me, today is about saying thank you – thank you to all the members of Training Wing 4 for their amazing work. Their dedication to Naval Aviation and can-do spirit has inspired me. They are the ‘best of the best.’”
Chief of Naval Air Training (CNATRA), Rear Adm. Daniel “Dozer” Dwyer presided over the ceremony, which was limited in attendance due to COVID-19 spread mitigation guidance.
“I can think of no better person to have led TRAWING 4 for the past two years,” Dwyer said. “We are so fortunate to have leaders like Capt. Delano to shape the future of Naval Aviation. His work here has instilled a culture of excellence in the next generation of Naval Aviators.”
Delano, a graduate of the U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis, Maryland, received his Wings of Gold in October of 1996. He served with various fleet squadrons including the “Golden Eagles” of Patrol Squadron (VP) 9, the “Pro’s Nest” of VP-30, and the “Pelicans” of VP-45. His other operational tours include flight deck officer/catapult and arresting gear officer aboard aircraft carrier USS George Washington (CVN 73) and the air operations officer for Carrier Strike Group (CSG) 2 onboard aircraft carrier USS George H.W. Bush (CVN 77). While assigned to CSG-2, he served as the LNO to Commander. U.S. 5th Fleet coordinating the strike group’s response in the initial efforts for Operation Inherent Resolve. Delano commanded the 33d Flying Training Squadron at Vance Air Force Base, Enid, Oklahoma. In this capacity, he led a Joint Specialized Undergraduate Flying Training Squadron, flying the T-6 Texan II. Additionally, he has served on the National Joint Operations and Intelligence Center floor as the Chief of Operations and the Division Chief for the National Military Command System Operations Division.
Delano assumed command of Training Air Wing 4 July 13, 2018. Following his relief, he will report to the Chief of Naval Air Training to serve as the assistant chief of staff for training.
Rifas, a graduate of the University of Colorado, earned his Wings of Gold in 1999. He served with the “Tigertails” of Carrier Airborne Warning Squadron (VAW) 125, the “Golden Eagles” of Training Squadron (VT) 22, the “Greyhawks” of VAW-120, and the “Sunkings” of VAW 116. Rifas commanded the “Black Eagles” of VAW-113, deploying aboard aircraft carrier USS Ronald Regan in support of exercises Rim of the Pacific and Southern Seas. His other operational tours include aide-de-camp to Commander, Joint Command Lisbon/U.S. 6th Fleet; Chief of Current Special Operations (Europe/NATO/Africa) with U.S. Special Operations Command; air boss of aircraft carrier USS Dwight D. Eisenhower; and director of US/UK Interoperability at U.S. Fleet Forces Command. Rifas has accumulated more than 3,000 flight hours and 650 carrier arrested landings.
TAW-4 trains the highest quality aviators for service in the U.S. fleet and international forces. Its personnel include 300 instructor pilots and an average of 500 student naval aviators per year.