CORONADO, Calif. (NNS) -- Commander, Helicopter Maritime Strike Wing Pacific (COMHSMWINGPAC) held a change of command ceremony at Naval Air Station (NAS) North Island in Coronado, California, July 23.
During the ceremony, Capt. Sil A. Perrella relieved Capt. Shawn P. Malone as commander, Helicopter Maritime Strike Wing Pacific.
Malone, a native of Chicopee, Massachusetts, is a 1990 graduate of the U.S. Naval Academy. Malone was responsible to Commander, Naval Air Force Pacific (CNAP) for the operational readiness, training and employment of 12 subordinate commands, 120 MH-60R Sea Hawk multi-mission helicopters, 2 MQ-8B Fire Scouts and more than 3,300 military and civilian personnel.
During his tour, he methodically executed the Helo Master Plan, transitioning Marine Corps Air Station Kaneohe Bay, Hawaii-based Helicopter Maritime Strike Squadron (HSM) 37 to an MH-60R expeditionary squadron; orchestrating the SH-60B sundown to honor the Sea Hawk's 33 years of service, and completing the MH-60R safe-to-operate certification for HSM-49. An influential leader in the Anti-Submarine Warfare (ASW) Improvement Program, his efforts were key to increasing Airborne Low-frequency Sonar dipping sonar system readiness and updating fleet-wide ASW investment priorities.
"It has been a tremendous honor to serve as commodore of the Pacific Fleet's HSM Wing and an incredible privilege to have worked with these men and women who are shaping the future of the MH-60R," said Malone.
Perrella enlisted in the Navy in 1985 from Fountain Valley, California, and served as an aviation anti-submarine warfare technician at Helicopter Anti-Submarine Squadron Light (HSL) 41 and HSL-47 located at NAS North Island. He was commissioned and designated a naval aviator through the Naval Aviation Cadet Program in December 1992. His naval aviation assignments include an initial operational tour with HSL-51 in Atsugi, Japan, serving as detachment operations and maintenance officer and with HSL-37 for his department head tour where he served as the maintenance officer and as the Detachment 4 officer-in-charge in which he led a two-plane detachment onboard USS Chosin (CG 65). Perrella served as commanding officer of the HSL-51 "Warlords" from May 2010 to June 2011.
Ashore, Perrella served with the HSL-41 "Seahawks" in 1997 as a fleet replacement squadron flight instructor and again in 2003 as the training department head. Additionally, he served at Naval Personnel Command in Millington, Tennessee, as the HSM/Type Command air combat placement officer and PERS 43 deputy director. Following his command tour, he served on the Joint Staff, Strategic Plans and Policy Directorate (J-5) as a Western Hemisphere/Homeland Defense politico-military planner and deputy executive assistant to the director. Prior to assuming his duties as deputy commander in 2014, Perrella served as the commanding officer of HSM-40, the east coast MH-60R fleet replacement squadron.
"I am extremely honored and humbled to lead the community I have been a part of for the last 29 years. I look forward to the opportunities that lie ahead as HSM continues to strive to maximize our combat primacy, mission versatility and interoperability within the strike group, and remain the force of choice for anti-submarine and anti-surface warfare," said Perrella.
Cmdr. David P. Walt, who has been selected for promotion to captain, reported to COMHSMWINGPAC as the deputy commander in 2015 after recently graduating from the National War College with a Master's in National Security Strategy. Walt, a native of Dallas, is a 1993 graduate of the University of Texas at Austin.
The ceremony's guest speaker was Rear Adm. Michael C. Manazir, director, Air Warfare (OPNAV N98) on the staff of the Chief of Naval Operations.
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