FALLON, Nev. (NNS) -- The "Shoguns" of Carrier Air Wing (CVW) 9 held an airborne change of command ceremony Jan. 30 while detached to Naval Air Station (NAS) Fallon, Nevada, for the air-to-surface phase of the Strike Fighter Advanced Readiness Program.
With the Sailors of CVW-9 looking on, Capt. Rich "Snap" Brophy relieved Capt. Stuart "Studa" Baker as commander of CVW-9 during a ceremonial "passing of the lead" overhead the field.
In keeping with naval tradition, Brophy assumed command with the statement, "I relieve you, Sir," with Baker responding, "I am relieved."
"It has truly been one of the best tours I've had, and it's with no small degree of sadness that I close out my time with the 'Shogun' family," said Baker, "The men and women of the staff and squadrons of CVW-9 reminded me daily of our Sailors' outstanding dedication to our service and our nation. 'Snap' [Brophy] is taking the reins of an elite organization, and I have no doubt that he will spur them on to amazing things during the rest of their workup and deployment cycle."
Baker, a 1989 graduate of Miami University of Ohio, was commissioned via the Naval Reserve Officers Training Corps program and attended flight training that same year. In March 1991, he was designated a Naval Aviator and subsequently served tours at Strike Fighter Squadron (VFA) 125 and VFA-151. In 1995, Baker reported to U.S. Navy Fighter Weapons School (TOPGUN) in Miramar, California, as part of the first Strike Fighter Tactics Instructor course. Following training, Baker reported to Strike Fighter Weapons School Pacific.
In October 1997, Baker returned to sea as part of the CVW-14 staff as the strike operations officer, and in November 1999, reported to the "Blue Diamonds" of VFA-146 for his department head tour. Afterwards, Baker reported in March 2002 to the Naval War College in Newport, Rhode Island, where he earned a master's degree in National Security and Strategic Studies.
In March 2003, Baker reported to the Naval Strike and Air Warfare Center (NSAWC) at NAS Fallon, where he served as a TOPGUN instructor and as the TOPGUN executive officer (XO). In July 2005, Baker received orders to the "Kestrels" of VFA-137 as the XO, before assuming command. While attached to CVW-2 aboard the aircraft carrier USS Abraham Lincoln (CVN 72), he completed two cruises in support of Operations Iraqi and Enduring Freedom.
Following this command tour, in May 2008, Baker reported to the Joint Staff in Washington, D.C., and served in the J-39 Special Technical Operations Directorate, as well as the executive assistant for the J-3 Director for Operations. Baker reported to CVW-9 in February 2012 as deputy commander, and assumed command July 12, 2013.
Under Baker's leadership as deputy commander, CVW-9 successfully completed a surge deployment to the U.S. 5th and 7th Fleet areas of responsibility in support of Operation Enduring Freedom and Arabian Gulf operations. After assuming command, Baker led CVW-9 through multiple successful training detachments to NAS Fallon, NAS Key West, and Tyndall Air Force Base, and the start of the Strike Fighter Advanced Readiness Program in preparation for their imminent deployment.
Brophy is a 1991 graduate from the U.S. Naval Academy and completed tours with VFA-105, VFA-106, and VFA-81. He served as the commanding officer of the "Eagles" of VFA-115. His shore assignments include aide to commander, United States Northern Command; executive assistant to OPNAV Analysis and Assessment Division (N81); and the deputy executive assistant and special assistant to the Vice Chief of Naval Operations. He is a graduate from TOPGUN, the U.S. Naval War College, and was a Massachusetts Institute of Technology Seminar 21 fellow.
"It's been an honor to work with Studa [Baker]," said Brophy. "His efforts put CVW-9 on a solid path for workups and cruise, and I look forward to building upon the fantastic foundation that he laid."
Capt. Trey "Fudd" Sisson is the new CVW-9 deputy commander.
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