New Command at NAS Patuxent River

New Command at NAS Patuxent River

17-Jun-2022 Source: US Navy

Capt. Derrick Kingsley assumed command of Naval Air Station Patuxent River in a change of command ceremony June 14 at the Air Test and Evaluation Squadron One (VX-1) Hangar on base. Kingsley’s role as NAS Patuxent River commanding officer follows his previous position as the base executive officer.

Departing the command is Capt. John Brabazon, who will take a position with Commander, Navy Installations Command in Washington, D.C.

Participants in the ceremony included Rear Adm. Nancy Lacore, Commandant, Naval District Washington, and Vice Adm. Yancy Lindsey, Commander, Navy Installations Command.

“He assumed command in September 2020, and since then he has focused diligently on building the team, defending our assets, and taking care of Sailors,” said Lindsey of Brabazon. “Brabs, well done to overcome the myriad of challenges you had overcome to execute mission while keeping them safe; it was no easy task.”

Lindsey was glowing in his assessment of Brabazon’s tenure as commanding officer, remarking how the installation increased its intergovernmental support agreement with St. Mary’s County by $2 million annually to execute critical road repairs, leveraged the Defense Community Infrastructure Program to reconstruct the intersection adjacent to Gate 2, and collaborated with willing landowners and the NAVFAC Environmental team to eventually lead to the preservation of 50,000 acres of open wetlands via the Readiness and Environmental Protection Integration Program under Brabazon’s leadership. Lindsey further commended the NAS Patuxent River personnel during this period.

“Under Brabs’ leadership the installation team has made progress and improved quality of life and service in nearly every aspect of installation operations, from airfield reconstruction planning, to increased military working dog kennel capacity, to improved fire houses, to repaired sea walls, to robust personnel recognition programs, and improved single Sailor living conditions, they answered all bells and made a difference,” said Lindsey. “Way to go, Pax River”

Brabazon took the opportunity during his remarks to thank the members of Patuxent River by department who made such an impact on the mission under his command, calling out individual teams for their dedication to the mission and looking to the future.

“As I depart the team, please know that this is not goodbye but ‘until we meet again,’” said Brabazon to conclude his remarks. “Please stay prepared, stay ready, and continue to have each other’s backs. We rarely get to choose our crucible moments, their timing, or their circumstances – they happen, and we are measured by our response. The best we can do is prepare for them knowing they will arrive. I’m grateful for the honor to serve our nation. Our Navy serves as a strong second family in my life, and I couldn’t imagine living without them; Navy Sailors performing amazing deeds all over the globe in harm’s way both day and night. Deeds that we will never fully know.”

Brabazon was formally recognized for his service to NAS Patuxent River with the Legion of Merit, and was presented with proclamations from The Governor of Maryland, the Maryland Senate and House, the Commissioners of St. Mary’s County, and personally by State Senator Jack Bailey and Delegate Brian Crosby for his contributions to the Southern Maryland community. Following presentations of awards, Kingsley offered brief remarks to the guests in attendance on his plans for the future of the command.

“I look forward to working more closely with you all over the next 18 months as we continue to find our way back to normalcy and in-person events,” said Kingsley. “Teams and zoom have been ok, but I think you’ll agree with me that it’s time to get back in touch with each other, find more live and in person partnership events to build upon the great bonds we have previously established.”

Kingsley has served since September 2020 as the air station’s executive officer, a position that falls under the Navy’s Fleet-Up program. In that program, executive officers serve in that position for a year and a half before they “fleet up” to become the commanding officer for their command tour on the same ship or station. This practice provides focused command leadership stability throughout a base’s life, according to OPNAVINST 1412.14. Commanding officers reap the benefits of the actions and policies they institute as executive officer.

A native of Granite City, Illinois, Kingsley is a 1996 graduate of the United States Naval Academy. Designated a Naval Aviator in 1998, he has served in a number of squadrons at sea and ashore, including Helicopter Anti-Submarine Squadron Five “Night Dippers,” Helicopter Anti-Submarine Squadron Ten (HS-10) “War Hawks,” Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron Three (HSC-3) “Merlins,” and as Commanding Officer of Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron Eight (HSC-8) “Eightballers.” He has supported numerous operations worldwide in a variety of leadership roles, including with Carrier Air Wing Seven aboard USS Dwight D. Eisenhower (CVN 69) in support of Operation Southern Watch, USS John F. Kennedy (CV 67) and the John C. Stennis Strike Group in support of Operation Enduring Freedom, and USS Carl Vinson (CVN 70) in support of Operation Unified Response in Haiti. Kingsley served as the Chief of Naval Operations Plans and Policy Deputy Branch Head and lead Action Officer for the Strategic Laydown and Dispersal portfolio from January 2015 until January 2018 before reporting to the Joint Staff (J35), where he served as the Chief of Operations for the National Military Command Center and then Chief of Staff for the Director of Operations (J3) from September 2018 until December 2019. Kingsley is no stranger to installation command; he served as the interim commanding officer of Naval Air Facility El Centro in El Centro, California from January to March of 2020.

In his new role as commanding officer, Kingsley said he will continue to build on the foundations of leadership laid by his predecessor and provide the best service possible to Pax River’s mission partners.

“I am proud of the progress we’ve made thus far and I look forward to our accomplishments on the road ahead,” said Kingsley. “I’m confident that this is the right team, at the right time, for the job at hand. Our mission remains to enable mission partner success by providing the finest base operating support and customer service. So, let’s keep finding ways to get real and get better – take ownership, and work to sustain Naval Aviation’s combat edge over our adversaries. Thank you all. Let’s get to it!”

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