Story by Jennifer Peace on 09/06/2019In a traditional Navy change of command ceremony September 6, Capt. Khary W. Hembree-Bey assumed command of Naval Surface Warfare Center, Corona Division, from Capt. Richard A. Braunbeck III.
Rear Adm. Eric Ver Hage, commander of the NAVSEA Warfare Centers and the ceremony's presiding officer, presented Braunbeck with the Legion of Merit award for outstanding service and achievements throughout his career.
"With his bold leadership, keen attention to detail and complete dedication to duty, Capt. Braunbeck has led NSWC Corona in advancing the readiness of the warfighter," said Ver Hage. "His determined and tireless efforts to engage Navy decision makers, program sponsors and fleet leadership have led to impressive growth in the command's annual business."
Braunbeck expressed his gratitude to the command as well as military, community and education leaders, and thanked his family and friends for their support of his 33-year career.
"It's been a tremendous privilege to serve as Corona's commanding officer," said Braunbeck. "I've witnessed an incredible group of engineers, scientists, technicians and support personnel dedicate themselves to the readiness of the warfighter, and our Navy is better prepared as a result of their efforts. I am excited about Corona's future."
Since October 2017, Braunbeck has led the command's support for mission readiness and overseen a dramatic increase in the command's annual business base from $475 million to $515 million in two years. This growth corresponded with increases in hiring, education offerings, new and refurbished facilities and workforce improvements. He also significantly advanced the command's role in data analysis for ship maintenance and modernization, a primary initiative for the Navy.
The demand for Corona's services and Braunbeck's efforts to engage Navy decision makers, fleet leadership and program sponsors drove unprecedented and historic visits to the command with 17 flag officers in 2018, including the former Chief of Naval Operations, Adm. John Richardson. They received a first-hand look into NSWC Corona's leading role in independent assessment, data analytics, measurement science, and fleet live, virtual, constructive training.
Braunbeck's tour at NSWC Corona is the capstone to his lengthy and diverse military career. After he joined the Navy in 1986 as an enlisted machinist's mate, he completed Naval Nuclear Power School and served in the Reactor Department aboard USS Dwight D. Eisenhower. He was selected for officer commissioning in 1990 and attended Old Dominion University, receiving his bachelor's degree in mechanical engineering with a minor in physical oceanography. He was commissioned in 1995. Two years later, Braunbeck was selected as an aerospace maintenance duty officer and served assignments ashore in Rota, Spain, and aboard USS John C. Stennis (CVN 74), USS Theodore Roosevelt (CVN 71) and USS Nimitz (CVN 68).
His major assignments include Officer in Charge of the Strike Fighter Wing Pacific Maintenance Unit, El Centro, California; Commanding Officer, Fleet Readiness Center Northwest, Whidbey Island, Washington; and Military Director for Logistics Management Integration at NAVAIRSYSCOM 6.6, Patuxent River, Maryland. In addition to his Legion of Merit award today, he has earned four Meritorious Service Medals, two Navy Commendation Medals, and two Navy Achievement Medals.
The incoming commander, Capt. Khary W. Hembree-Bey, is a native of Long Beach, New York, who has held a variety of operational and acquisition assignments and has commanded afloat and ashore. He brings to his new position a unique background with significant scope and breadth of experience in multiple disciplines, including civil affairs, engineering, financial management and acquisition.
Hembree-Bey is a seasoned surface warfare officer, holds a Level III Acquisition Certification in Program Management and a Surface Warfare Officer Acquisitions Corps member. He most recently served as the Principal Integration Platform Manager for Amphibious and Unit-Level Ships at Program Executive Office Command, Control, Communications, Computers and Intelligence (PEO C4I/PMW 760).
"I am honored and humbled," Hembree-Bey said. "Honored to once again be entrusted by our nation and Navy with the sacred duty of Command. There is no greater responsibility that can be bestowed on an officer. And I am humbled at the opportunity to work on the forefront of the Navy's premier independent analysis and assessment agent."
Hembree-Bey entered the Navy via the United States Merchant Marine Academy in 1996 and graduated with a bachelor's degree in marine transportation. He also earned a master's degree in business administration from the College of William and Mary.
His decorations include two Joint Meritorious Service Medals, two Meritorious Service Medals, three Navy Commendation Medals, a Navy Achievement medal, and various campaign and service awards.
The NAVSEA Warfare Centers provide research, development, test and evaluation for the future Navy as well as in-service engineering and logistics support for the operational naval forces.
About Naval Surface Warfare Center Corona
Naval Surface Warfare Center Corona, headquartered in Norco, California, is the Navy's premier independent analysis and assessment agent using measurement, analysis and assessment to enable our warfighters to train, fight and win. The center analyzes warfare and missile defense systems, provides systems engineering for Live Virtual Constructive training ranges, and advises and administratively manages measurement and calibration standards for the Navy and Marine Corps. Capt. Khary W. Hembree-Bey commands the Naval Sea Systems Command (NAVSEA) field activity with a workforce of more than 3,700 scientists, engineers, contractors and support staff.