21-Jun-2021 Source: US Navy
Helicopter Maritime Strike Wing Pacific (HSMWINGPAC) held a change of command ceremony at Naval Air Station (NAS) North Island in Coronado, California, June 15, in which Capt. Jeffrey Melody was relieved by Capt. Brannon Bickel as “Commodore.”
“I could not be prouder of the great work that our Sailors do each and every day, all around the world,” said Melody. “It has been the privilege of a lifetime to serve with the exceptional crews for Helicopter Maritime Strike Wing Pacific. I am optimistic for our future and firmly believe that our best days are forward.”
Capt. Brannon S. Bickel, a native of Massillon, Ohio graduated from the United States Naval Academy in 1997 with a Bachelor’s of Science degree in English and was designated a Naval Aviator in February 1999. His sea assignments included Helicopter Anti-Submarine Squadron Light (HSL) 48, HSL-43, and Helicopter Maritime Strike Squadron (HSM) 37. Bickel commanded the “Easy Riders” of HSM-37 in Kaneohe Bay, Hawaii from June 2014 to July 2015, and the Seahawks of HSM-41 from June 2017 to July 2019. His shore assignments included HSL-41; Flag Aide to Commander, Naval Air Forces; Military Assistant on the Office of the Secretary of Defense staff; and Helicopter Detailer at the Naval Personnel Command in Millington, Tennessee. He assumed the duties as Deputy Wing Commander for HSMWINGPAC in November 2019.
Vice Adm. Kenneth Whitesell, Commander, Naval Air Forces, presided over the ceremony.
“Our combat effectiveness in the future will be determined by the readiness we can afford to bring to the fight, and we will remain the world’s premier Naval Air Force, second-to-none in combat capability, thanks to innovative leaders like Jeff who have made sure we are on course for success,” said Whitesell. He continued, “The future for Helicopter Maritime Strike Wing Pacific is in good hands, as we welcome Captain Brannon Bickel to take the lead.”
HSMWINGPAC is responsible for overseeing the administration, training, and operation of 10 Helicopter Maritime Strike (HSM) squadrons, a Fleet Replacement Squadron, an HMS Weapons School, and the NAS North Island Aviation Supply Department. These units comprise over 3,400 military and civilian personnel as well as 152 aircraft based at locations including NAS North Island, Marine Corps Base Hawaii, and Naval Air Facility Atsugi, Japan.