SAN DIEGO (NNS) -- Marine Corps Col. Douglas P. Yurovich made history as the first Marine aviator ever to assume command of a Navy Carrier Air Wing (CVW) 9, during a ceremony aboard USS Midway Jan. 19.
Yurovich relieved Navy Capt. Michael Spence, who will next serve as the assistant chief of staff for plans and policy at Commander, U.S. Naval Forces Central Command in Bahrain.
"I'm honored to be taking over Carrier Air Wing 9 and representing the Marine Corps. I believe I'm representing all of the Marines who have ever served on carrier strike groups," said Yurovich, who has served as deputy commander of CVW-9 since Aug. 2004. "I found out 37 months ago that I was selected for this job and now I'm finally taking command."
Commissioned in 1979, the Marine Corps veteran has served at several duty stations, including Naval Air Station, Pensacola, Fla., in 1980 for initial flight training and as chief staff officer of CVW-1 aboard USS America (CV 66) in 1995. He now heads CVW-9's 2,000 personnel and nine squadrons stationed on bases along the West Coast.
Yurovich is "exactly the right guy at the right time for this job" said guest speaker, Vice Adm. James M. Zortman, commander of Naval Air Forces. "A lot of people want to make a big deal about the fact that the person stepping into this job is a Marine. The Navy and Marine Corps team is more integrated than ever. This is not new on any level."
CVW-9, also known as the Shogun Strike Team, is sited in Lemoore, Calif. CVW-9 recently completed an around-the-world deployment during July 2005 as part of the USS Carl Vinson (CVN 70) Carrier Strike Group. The air wing completed many training missions, as well as raided an enemy insurgent location near Baghdad in April 2005.
As the 49th commander of CVW-9, Yurovich said he would help maintain the standards of war fighting his predecessors have already established.
"We were in OIF (Operation Iraqi Freedom). We took the fight to the enemy and we went to battle the war on terror," said Yurovich. "Air Wing 9 will continue to train to be ready and to be combat ready to fall upon to support the global war on terror."
CVW-9 is comprised of Strike Fighter Squadron (VFA)146 "Blue Diamonds," VFA-147 "Argonauts," VFA-154 "Black Knights," Marine Strike Fighter Squadron (VMFA) 323 "Death Rattlers," Airborne Early Warning Squadron (VAW) 112 "GoldenHawks," Electronic Attack Squadron (VAQ) 138 "Yellowjackets," Sea Control Squadron (VS) 33 "Screwbirds," and Helicopter Anti-Submarine Squadron (HS) 8 "Eightballers." During operations at sea, CVW-9 is augmented by detachment from Fleet Logistics Support Squadron (VRC) 30 "Providers."
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