PATUXENT RIVER, Md. (NNS) -- Naval Air Systems Command conducted a change of command during a ceremony May 18, at Patuxent River, Md.
Incoming NAVAIR commander Vice Adm. David Architzel said he is committed to building on NAVAIR's reputation for strength and effectiveness to make its contribution to the fleet better and more enduring.
"From the headquarters to the warfare centers to our FRCs [fleet readiness centers], the program executive offices and program managers, we have a lot to do in some very challenging operational and economic times," he said.
Architzel, who served as the Navy's principal military deputy to the assistant secretary of the Navy for Research, Development and Acquisition, relieved Vice Adm. David J. Venlet who was selected by Defense Secretary Robert Gates to run the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter program.
"To the NAVAIR team, today is about a change of command and not about a change in mission," Architzel said. "Each of you has played a role in establishing the commendable reputation that NAVAIR enjoys -- technical excellence, business acumen, and unsurpassed leadership."
"NAVAIR is operating in a period of time that is at the pinnacle of change, challenge and opportunity," said Chief of Naval Operations Adm. Gary Roughead, who spoke at the ceremony. "They are introducing an entirely new generation of aircraft."
Roughead and Assistant Secretary of the Navy for Research, Development and Acquisition Sean Stackley offered their congratulations, praise and support for Architzel.
"Dave [Architzel] brings a degree of passion, loyalty and desire to his work every single day," Stackley said.
"To those of you in NAVAIR who have had the privilege of serving with Dave Venlet, you will be equally privileged to work with Dave Architzel," Roughead said.
"He has served on five aircraft carriers since 1973, and still found time to command several units ashore," said Roughead. "He joins NAVAIR after nearly three years as the principal deputy assistant secretary of the Navy for research, development, and acquisition. His operational experience and acquisition expertise bode well for the future of naval aviation."
A career naval aviator, Architzel has accumulated more than 5,000 flight hours, 4,300 in the S-3, and the remainder in some 30 other aircraft types as a test pilot at Patuxent River where he graduated from Test Pilot School in 1981.
He served as maintenance officer in Sea Control Squadron (VS) 30, deploying aboard USS Forrestal (CV 59), and in VS 28, deploying aboard USS Independence (CV 62). He later returned to VS 30 as executive officer and subsequently as commanding officer. After selection to Nuclear Power Training, he served as executive officer of USS Dwight D. Eisenhower (CVN 69), the "Big Ike."
During his tour, Ike was awarded the 1992 Naval Air Force Atlantic Battle Efficiency Award. Following this tour, he served as executive officer of PCU John C. Stennis, and commanding officer of USS Guam (LPH 9), flagship for Amphibious Squadron 2. During this tour, Guam won three consecutive Battle Efficiency Awards, making deployments to the Mediterranean Sea and Indian Ocean, which included Adriatic operations in support of the U.S. Ambassador to Somalia.
He became the 6th commanding officer of USS Theodore Roosevelt (CVN 71) on Nov. 1, 1996. His command tour included a deployment to the Mediterranean and Arabian Gulf, during which time the battle group conducted operations in support of Joint Guard and Southern Watch.
Ashore, Architzel was selected for the Navy's Test Pilot School, filled a critical billet at the Spanish Naval War College in Madrid, Spain, and was department head of the Warfare Systems Group at the Naval Air Test Center, Patuxent River.
Architzel's first flag assignment was to Iceland, where he served as commander, Iceland Defense Force and commander, Fleet Air Keflavik. His follow-on flag assignments were commander, Naval Safety Center, Norfolk, commander, Navy Region Mid-Atlantic, commander of Operational Test and Evaluation Force, Norfolk, and program executive officer for aircraft carriers.
On Aug. 6, 2007, Architzel assumed the role of principal deputy assistant secretary of the Navy for research, development, and acquisition.
His decorations include the Defense Superior Service Medal, four Legions of Merit, three Meritorious Service Medals, the Navy Achievement Medal and various service related awards and campaign ribbons. He was also awarded the Spanish Naval Cross of Merit from His Majesty, King Juan Carlos of Spain, the Navy League's John Paul Jones Leadership Award for 1998, and the Commander's Cross with Star of the Icelandic Order of the Falcon presented by the President of Iceland.
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