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    VX-9 Holds Aerial Change of Command

    CHINA LAKE, CA, UNITED STATES

    03.10.2022

    Story by Hannah Moore 

    Naval Air Weapons Station China Lake

    CHINA LAKE, California- Air Test and Evaluation Squadron Nine (VX-9) held an aerial change of command ceremony above Naval Air Weapons Station China Lake, Mar. 10.

    During the change of command event, Capt. Todd Zentner assumed all duties and responsibilities as the Commanding Officer of VX-9 from Capt. William McCombs.
    McCombs’ command began in 2021 and since then he has led over 350 officers and enlisted personnel through a variety of events.

    “I had the privilege of joining this squadron exactly 4 years ago. During this tour I have witnessed amazing things from Vampires. Your demonstrated expertise, hard work, and sweat is essential to ensuring our warfighters can launch off the pointy end of the boat on dark nights, and fly into battle with confidence,” he said.

    During Capt. McCombs tour as Commanding Officer, he focused on not only maintaining Navy standards but also updating and refurbishing outdated elements of VX-9.

    Vice Adm. Kenneth Whitesell, Commander, Naval Air Forces/Commander, Naval Air Force, US Pacific Fleet, had this to say about Capt. McCombs’ service, “As a quiet, humble professional over the last 26 years, you have lived the warrior ethos many strive for, but few realize. No words will capture all you have done for our country”.

    Captain William McCombs is a native of Concord, CA. Prior to assuming command of VX-9 he served as the Chief Operational Test Director of VX-9 from 2018 to 2021. He is a 1996 graduate of the U.S. Naval Academy where he earned a Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering. He was designated a Naval Flight Officer in 1998. He holds a Master of Science in Aeronautical Engineering from the Naval Postgraduate School in Monterey, California and is a graduate of U.S. Naval Test Pilot School, Class 126.
    McCombs’ operational tours at Naval Air Station (NAS) Whidbey Island, Washington include Electronic Attack Squadron (VAQ) 134, VAQ-135, and VAQ-132, where he served as the Executive and Commanding Officer. He flew in Operations ALLIED FORCE, NORTHERN WATCH, SOUTHERN WATCH, ENDURING FREEDOM, and IRAQI FREEDOM.

    McCombs had this to say about his time at VX-9, “It has been an honor and my privilege to stand in front of you as the CO and fly your aircraft. Fair winds to each and every one of you. I wish you the very best.”

    “Captain Zentner, your leadership will ensure VX-9 continues to evolve to support the Air Wing of the Future in the most effective and cost-efficient manner. The Vampires are lucky to have you. I know you are up for the challenge,” McCombs added about his relief.

    Captain Todd Zentner is a native of Mill Creek, Washington. He is a 1998 graduate of the U.S. Naval Academy where he earned a Bachelor of Science in Ocean Engineering. He was designated a Naval Aviator in 2000. He holds a Masters of Arts in National Security and Strategic Studies from the Naval War College in Newport, Rhode Island.

    Capt. Zentner’s operational tours at Naval Air Station (NAS) Whidbey Island, Washington include Electronic Attack Squadron (VAQ) 140, VAQ-135, and VAQ-133, where he served as the Executive and Commanding Officer. He flew in Operations ENDURING FREEDOM and IRAQI FREEDOM while deployed on USS JOHN F. KENNEDY (CV 67), USS GEORGE WASHINGTON (CVN 73), USS JOHN C. STENNIS (CVN 74) and USS NIMITZ (CVN 68). During an additional sea tour, he served has the Carrier Air Wing (CVW) 9 Landing Signals Officer (LSO) on USS JOHN C STENNIS.

    Capt. Zentner also completed shore tours as an instructor pilot and LSO at VAQ-129, VAQ Detailer at PERS-43, and EA-18G GROWLER Requirements Officer attached to the Director of Air Warfare, OPNAV N-98.

    “Vampires, I am proud to serve with you. The business of VX-9 is very clear. We deliver victory. Whether the fight is east or west, we ensure the leading edge is equipped to win. That is not easy work. In fact, it is extremely hard, and hard is authorized.”- Capt. Todd Zentner, Commanding Officer (VX-9)

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    NEWS INFO

    Date Taken: 03.10.2022
    Date Posted: 03.11.2022 17:36
    Story ID: 416337
    Location: CHINA LAKE, CA, US 

    Web Views: 223
    Downloads: 0

    PUBLIC DOMAIN