Story by Anne Owens on 06/21/2019Training Air Wing 2 held a change of command ceremony June 21 aboard Naval Air Station Kingsville, Texas.
Capt. Brett "Ned" Lassen relieved Capt. Richard "Gash" Rivera as commodore of Training Air Wing 2.
"I'm excited to get back to my roots within Naval Aviation here at Training Air Wing 2," Lassen said. "Training our Navy and Marine Corps jet pilots is a great honor. Providing these skilled aviators the nation needs right now is an important job. Capt. Rivera is leaving me with an incredible team of instructor pilots and support staff and together we will continue to forge our nation's best and brightest into the next generation of naval aviators."
Chief of Naval Air Training Rear Adm. Gregory Harris served as the guest speaker during the event and presented an award to Rivera, who will retire. Rivera received the Legion of Merit for exceptionally meritorious conduct while serving as commodore of Training Air Wing 2. His efforts resulted in the safe completion of 21 detachments, more than 60,000 flights, and the qualification of 243 new aviators.
"It has been an absolute honor to work with a professional like Capt. Rivera," Harris said. "He has had a significant positive impact on both the wing and its squadrons during his tour. He has been a champion for aviation safety and for developing a warrior spirit that will be his legacy here."
Rivera retires following 25 years of naval service that started with his graduation from the Naval Academy in Annapolis, Maryland, 1994. Rivera has completed more than 3,500 flight hours with 3,000 hours in the F/A-18A-F Hornet and 819 carrier-arrested landings.
"I'm so fortunate to have been able to spend my last tour in the Navy teaching the future aviators of the fleet," Rivera said. "Seeing these incredible aviators earn their Wings of Gold is really special and is something I'll never forget. We've made a lot of improvements during my time here, especially as it relates to aircrew safety. As I pass the reigns to Capt. Brett Lassen I know he will continue to lead the Wing to produce the world's finest aviators."
Training Air Wing 2 is responsible for providing Strike and E-2/C-2 training to student naval aviators with the "Fighting Redhawks" of Training Squadron 21 and the "Golden Eagles" of Training Squadron 22. More than 120 Navy and Marine Corps instructor pilots make up the two squadrons and award Wings of Gold to more than 130 naval aviators each year.