Dec 18, 2012
NAVAL AIR SYSTEMS COMMAND, PATUXENT RIVER, Md. – When Navy Capt. Matthew Aaron, the Navy Reserve Program Executive Office Support Unit commanding officer, celebrated his retirement last month, it not only marked the end of his 24-year career, but a changing of the guard for the organization that supports NAVAIR and its myriad missions.
Aaron’s Nov. 9 retirement was also a platform for the unit’s change of command ceremony where Capt. Michael Yukish was welcomed as its new leader after serving as the commanding officer for the Arlington, Va.-based Office of Naval Research (ONR) Science and Technology 100.
Rear Adm. Kirby Miller, NAVAIR vice commander who served as the ceremony’s keynote speaker, praised Aaron’s service to the Navy.
“It is my distinct honor to have this opportunity to celebrate our Navy Reservists’ achievements under the phenomenal leadership of Captain Aaron and to welcome Captain Mike Yukish as Matt’s relief,” Kirby said.
“Today, we all stand together to thank you, Matt, for your faithful service and your exemplary leadership,” Kirby said. “You are living proof of what philosopher and Dr. William James said more than 100 years ago: ‘Act as if what you do makes a difference … It does.’"
NRP has nearly 250 officer and enlisted members supporting NAVAIR, its associated warfare centers and program executive offices. NRP members regularly deploy forward with operational units, providing more than 12,000 man-days of support each year.
Yukish inherits the NRP program at an exciting time is its history, Aaron said. In November, the organization completed a realignment that leaves it more integrated, better aligned and more relevant than ever, he added.
“For the [Program Executive Office] Support Unit, that means we are now positioned to provide more strategic support across all of NAVAIR to deliver results that really have an impact," Aaron said.
“Mike inherits a healthy and busy command,” Kirby said. “By all accounts, this tour is ripe with opportunities to leverage the skill and expertise of our Reservists and continues to build on active/Reserve integrated successes.”
Yukish said he plans to draw on past experiences to enhance his new role as commanding officer.
“My goal for the command is to work with our leaders to identify mission areas uniquely tailored to Reservists, such as a wartime surge capability or ones that take advantage of the … warfighting expertise developed forward by our mobilizing Reservists,” Yukish said. “Once identified, we will ‘mass our fires’ on the problem and make a difference.
"Coming from the command of a Reserve unit that supported the Office of Naval Research, I am particularly interested in collaboration opportunities with the ONR Reserve Program that can lead to Reservists directly helping to bridge the gap between the research and acquisition communities," he continued. “Doing so will directly support Vice Admiral Dunaway's goal of ‘speed to fleet’ and ‘rapid response to warfighter needs.’ I'm extraordinarily excited about the opportunity to guide the Reserve PEO unit as it grows [into the future].”
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