Naval Air Station Oceana change of command set for Thursday

Future Base Design agreement to be signed as well
Capt. Hewitt and Capt. Holmes
Posted at 9:47 AM, Aug 04, 2021
and last updated 2021-08-04 16:55:51-04

VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. — Captain Bob Holmes will take command of Naval Air Station Oceana during a ceremony Thursday.

Holmes, who is currently Executive Officer, will fleet up and relieve Captain John Hewitt.

Hewitt has served as Commanding Officer since September 2019 and oversaw the East Coast Master Jet Base through the pandemic and planning for Future Base Design.

Future Base Design aims to leverage hundreds of acres of underutilized land within the NAS Oceana footprint and allow public-private development opportunities that would generate in-kind considerations for the base, allowing critical sustainment dollars to be more effectively used for the core mission of warfighter support.

Navy Region Mid-Atlantic Commanding Officer Rear Admiral Chip Rock and Virginia Beach Mayor Bobby Dyer are expected to sign a non-binding strategic agreement for the city and Navy to go after Future Base Design Opportunities in a coordinated fashion during Thursday's change of command ceremony.

During his last week in command, Hewitt reflected on his time at the helm and what he was most proud of during an interview with News 3 anchor Todd Corillo.

"Running the Navy's Master Jet Base with 14 operational squadrons, the largest Fleet Replacement Squadron, and 72 supported partner commands is a challenge in and of itself. Throw a pandemic, and all of the handcuffs that come with that, such as masks and having people sequester themselves for a period of time, and still meet the Navy's mission. Well, you can see how this just adds to that pressure, we were able to do it," Hewitt reflected.

"I'm incredibly proud of my team that was able to put gray jets on gray ships and go out and do the nation's bidding and we never missed a beat. I'm not saying there weren't challenges, but we met our mission and I'm extremely proud of that," he added.

Hewitt is headed to Navy Region Mid-Atlantic to become Chief of Staff as his next assignment.

Holmes will become the 47th Commanding Officer of Oceana.