Jan 10, 2013
Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst, N.J. – Rear Adm. Mark Darrah, commander, Naval Air Warfare Center Aircraft Division (NAWCAD), Patuxent River, Md., along with members of his staff, visited the Naval Air Systems Command (NAVAIR) facilities at Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst (JB MDL) in Lakehurst, N.J. The January 9th visit marked Darrah’s first trip to Lakehurst since being promoted to admiral and assuming command of NAWCAD.
Accompanied by Capt. Chris Junge, Capt. Henry Jackson, Command Master Chief Sean Carolan and Robert Smith, Darrah and his staff received briefings and tours to update them on the myriad of missions and labs at Lakehurst, to include the Electromagnetic Aircraft Launch System (EMALS) and Advanced Arresting Gear (AAG) that are slated for deployment aboard CVN 78, USS Gerald Ford, the next aircraft carrier scheduled for commissioning in 2015.
Included in the visit were meetings with the Support Equipment and Aircraft Launch and Recovery (SE and ALRE) division chiefs. Several engineering labs were also visited, along with a tour of the NAVAIR Prototyping and Manufacturing facility.
While addressing the membership of the Naval Civilian Managers Association (NCMA) Lakehurst chapter, Darrah likened the Lakehurst facilities and engineering talent to that of a national treasure.
“What you do enables the fleet to run smoothly, and my job is to make sure the operators know and appreciate that,” Darrah said. “Our role as the technical experts for naval aviation is to stand accountable with our customers in the fleet, to engage in a respectful dialogue and to continue to foster innovation through our diverse workforce.”
According to Kathleen Donnelly, Senior Executive Service (SES) Director of SE and ALRE at Lakehurst, “having Admiral Darrah here at Lakehurst gave us a great opportunity to showcase the dedication of our engineers, scientists, artisans and staff who work so diligently to support naval aviation. Launching, recovering and maintaining aircraft from ships at sea is a critical mission of the United States Navy, and could not be done successfully without the talent and expertise of our team here at Lakehurst. The visit by our new commanding officer and his staff goes a long way toward showing our folks how important their roles are in supporting the fleet.”
With the importance of a timely and successful deployment of EMALS and AAG technology aboard the carrier fleet, Darrah is expected to become a regular visitor to JB MDL for continued updates on the progress of both programs.
NAWCAD Lakehurst Public Affairs