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Commanding Officer Capt. Chuck Stuart prepares for Fleet Readiness Center change of command with final flight

Capt. Chuck Stuart, center, uses Jedi mind tricks to thwart Lt. Cmdr. John Ciccocioppi's, falling center-left, attempt to throw water on him after his last flight as a Navy aviator Thursday. On July 20, Stuart will relinquish command of Fleet Readiness Center Southeast - and call an end to a 26-year Navy career - at the facility's change of command. (U.S. Navy photo by Victor Pitts/Released)

Capt. Chuck Stuart, center, uses Jedi mind tricks to thwart Lt. Cmdr. John Ciccocioppi's, falling center-left, attempt to throw water on him after his last flight as a Navy aviator Thursday. On July 20, Stuart will relinquish command of Fleet Readiness Center Southeast - and call an end to a 26-year Navy career - at the facility's change of command. (U.S. Navy photo by Victor Pitts/Released)

Jul 14, 2017

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Capt. Chuck Stuart will conclude both his term as commanding officer of Fleet Readiness Center Southeast as well as his 26-year Navy career, at a change of command ceremony July 20. (U.S. Navy photo by Victor Pitts/Released)

Capt. Chuck Stuart will conclude both his term as commanding officer of Fleet Readiness Center Southeast as well as his 26-year Navy career, at a chan ...

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Capt. Chuck Stuart, commanding officer of Fleet Readiness Center Southeast, will mark the end of a 26-year Navy career at the aviation repair, maintenance and overhaul facility’s change of command ceremony at 9 a.m., July 20 at Naval Air Station Jacksonville.

During his two-year turn at the helm of FRCSE, Stuart has overseen a revitalization of the depot that has led to hundreds of new employees and a surge in production of vital aircraft to the Navy, such as the F/A-18 Hornet.

“The honor of being commanding officer of FRCSE has been the pinnacle of my career,” Stuart said. “Our whole team should feel extremely proud of what we’ve accomplished together over the past four years.”

The Navy facility is the largest command aboard Naval Air Station Jacksonville, with more than 3,500 civilians, 900 Sailors and 675 contractors.

Growing up in the shadows of Naval Station Norfolk, in Virginia Beach, Virginia, the Navy has been a part of Stuart’s life since birth. His father is a retired command master chief.

In 1991, he graduated from the U.S. Naval Academy and received his commission. Becoming a Navy aviator in 1993, Stuart flew CH-53 and MH-53 E Super Stallion helicopters in missions throughout the Mediterranean Sea and Persian Gulf during his first duty assignment with the HC-4 “Black Stallions.”

In 2001, he was selected to serve as test manager for the V-22 Osprey program.

He was responsible for all developmental and operational testing of the Marine Corps MV-22 and Air Force CV-22, which led to the program’s successful return to flight in 2002 and its operational evaluation in 2005.

After a number of other assignments, including a term as commanding officer of Fleet Readiness Center Western Pacific in Atsugi, Japan, Stuart transferred to Naval Air Station Jacksonville, where he served as executive officer at FRCSE from 2013 to 2015 before taking the reigns as commanding officer.

During his term as commanding officer, FRCSE has expanded its workload to include U.S. Air Force HH-60 Pave Hawk helicopters, fuel systems for the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter and avionics components of the P-8A Poseidon and F-35, among others – all while churning out F/A-18 Hornets at a historic rate.

In addition, the repair and maintenance of Navy trainer aircraft has significantly increased, earning praise from Rear Adm. Mike Zarkowski, Commander, Fleet Readiness Centers, on his latest visit.

Stuart himself delivers many of the T-44 Pegasus aircraft the facility repairs, and has logged more than 3,000 flight hours in both rotary and fixed wing aircraft.

Thursday, he took his last flight as a Navy pilot.

“Flying back here, Lt. Cmdr. Schantz asked me if I wanted to take the controls and fly back,” Stuart said. “I told him no, because I just wanted to watch and soak it all in.”

On the ground, his fellow pilots and family were waiting to carry out the tradition of drenching a pilot after his last flight.

“With everyone out here waiting to soak me, this was something special that will always be ingrained in my memory.”

Taking over for Stuart will be the current executive officer, Capt. Trent DeMoss. In addition, FRCSE will also be honored with the first Marine Corps officer to ever be part of the Navy command’s leadership team, with Col. Frederick Schenk joining the team as executive officer.

“I know the incoming leadership will do a tremendous job building on the momentum we’ve gained here,” Stuart said. “I’d just like to say thank you to all of our Sailors and artisans for the work they do here every day.”

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Artisan Robert Newberry installs a landing gear harness at Fleet Readiness Center Southeast, Jacksonville, Fla.

Capt. Chuck Stuart, right, commanding officer of Fleet Readiness Center Southeast, took his last flight as a Navy aviator Thursday. He was accompanied by Lt. Cmdr. Adam Schantz in a T-6 Texan Navy training aircraft. Stuart ends his career with more than 3,000 flight hours. (U.S. Navy photo by Victor Pitts/Released)

Capt. Chuck Stuart, right, commanding officer of Fleet Readiness Center Southeast, took his last flight as a Navy aviator Thursday. He was accompanied ...

Capt. Chuck Stuart, center left, gets doused with a bucket of water by his wife, Barbara, center right and other of the facility’s pilots after his last flight as a Navy aviator. (U.S. Navy photo by Victor Pitts/Released)

Capt. Chuck Stuart, center left, gets doused with a bucket of water by his wife, Barbara, center right and other of the facility’s pilots after his la ...

A close-up shot of Capt. Chuck Stuart, commanding officer of Fleet Readiness Center Southeast, shows the moment he is doused with water after his last flight as a Navy aviator Thursday. The facility's change of command ceremony will serve as both a change of command and a retirement ceremony for Stuart. (U.S. Navy photo by Victor Pitts/Released)

A close-up shot of Capt. Chuck Stuart, commanding officer of Fleet Readiness Center Southeast, shows the moment he is doused with water after his last ...

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2 Comments, Please review our Feedback Guidelines.


Anonymous said

Life is short and some people always stay in mind for their deeds, you are such people who always fight for the country’s respect. Now, a new life is waiting with full of happiness and fun. Enjoy your life to the most.

Fair Winds and Following Seas, Sir

Happy retirement.

See you on your motorcycle!


July 20, 2017 at 7:33:14 AM EDT

sobersubmrnr said

Fair Winds and Following Seas, Sir.


July 15, 2017 at 12:15:42 AM EDT


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