Air Test and Evaluation Squadron TWO ZERO (VX 20) is a proud member of Naval Air Systems Command and traces its roots to the founding of Naval Air Station (NAS) Patuxent River, Maryland. Recognizing the need for Navy flight test effort consolidation, NAS Patuxent River was established on April 1, 1943. The location was selected due to coast proximity, air traffic congestion and isolation. On June 16, 1945, Naval Air Test Center (NATC) (Flight Test Division, Weapon Systems Test Division, Service Test Division, and the United States Naval Test Pilot School) was designated as the center for Navy flight test. In April 1975, NATC was reorganized into the Antisubmarine Aircraft Test Directorate, Strike Aircraft Test Directorate, Rotary Wing Aircraft Test Directorate, Systems Engineering Test Directorate, and the United States Naval Test Pilot School. In June 1986, the directorate was renamed Force Warfare Aircraft Test Directorate. In May 1995, the organization officially became a squadron and was renamed Naval Force Aircraft Test Squadron. In May 2002, the squadron was designated Air Test and Evaluation Squadron TWO ZERO. Throughout its history, the squadron supported the Fleet through the full spectrum test and evaluation of VS, VP, VAW, VRC, VQ, VR, VUP, VMGR, and VT community aircraft.

Current aircraft supporting test at VX-20 are the C-2A, C-12M, C-38, E-2C/D, E 6B, C/KC-130J/T, MQ-4C, P-8A, and T-6A.

Cmdr. Matthew Tharp

VX-20 Commanding Officer

Commander Tharp graduated in 1999 from the United States Naval Academy in Annapolis, Maryland with a Bachelor of Science degree in Aerospace Engineering.

After commissioning, he attended primary and intermediate flight training at Training Squadron TEN (VT-10) at Naval Air Station Pensacola, Florida.  Upon completion of training, CDR Tharp reported to Carrier Airborne Early Warning Squadron ONE TWO ZERO (VAW-120), the E-2/C-2 Fleet Replacement Squadron, for advanced training, where he earned his wings in June 2001.  Six months later, he reported to Carrier Airborne Early Warning Squadron ONE TWO FOUR (VAW-124), located in Norfolk, Virginia.  While assigned to VAW-124, CDR Tharp participated in Counter Narcotics Missions in the Caribbean, as well as combat missions in support of OPERATION IRAQI FREEDOM.

In 2004, CDR Tharp returned to VAW-120 for instructor duty.  In January 2007, he reported to United States Naval Test Pilot School, where he graduated later that year as a member of Class 132.  In January 2008, following graduation, he reported to Air Test and Evaluation Squadron TWO ZERO (VX-20).  As a project officer at VX-20, CDR Tharp planned, executed, and reported on developmental flight test for the E-2C, E-2D, and NC-130 test programs.

In 2010, CDR Tharp reported to Carrier Airborne Early Warning Squadron ONE ONE FIVE (VAW-115) at Naval Air Facility Atsugi, Japan as a department head, where he served as the Safety Officer, Administrative Officer, and Maintenance Officer.  In 2011, following a devastating tsunami and nuclear disaster in Japan, he participated in humanitarian operations as part of OPERATION TOMODACHI.  He reported back to VX-20 in August 2012 to serve as the E-2D Government Flight Test Director.

In 2015, CDR Tharp reported onboard the USS RONALD REAGAN as the Air Operations Officer.  In this capacity he lead the Carrier Air Traffic Control Center team through an unprecedented three-aircraft carrier crew and hull swap and a homeport change to Yokosuka, Japan.

In April 2017, CDR Tharp returned to Naval Air Station Patuxent River to serve as the VX-20 Chief Test Pilot.

CDR Tharp has accumulated more than 2,600 flight hours in 21 different aircraft.  His personal awards include the Meritorious Service Medal (two awards), Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medal (four awards), Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal (two awards), and numerous other unit-level awards.

Cmdr. Carl Whorton

VX-20 Executive Officer

CDR Whorton holds a Master of Arts degree in Acquisition and Procurement Management from Webster University. In 1997, he received his commission as a graduate of the United States Naval Academy with a Bachelor of Science degree in Oceanography.

In 1999, CDR Whorton reported to the "Wallbangers" of Carrier Airborne Early Warning Squadron ONE ONE SEVEN at Naval Air Station Point Mugu, where he served as Naval Flight Officer Training and Naval Air Training and Operating Procedures Standardization Officer. After completing sea duty in 2003, he was assigned as an instructor at Carrier Airborne Early Warning Weapons School at Naval Strike and Air Warfare Center in Fallon, Nevada. In 2006, CDR Whorton reported as the Training Officer to the "Sun Kings" of Carrier Airborne Early Warning Squadron ONE ONE SIX (VAW-116) at Naval Air Station Point Mugu. The following year, he served with the United States Army as a student at the Command and General Staff College in Fort Leavenworth, Kansas. Shortly thereafter, in 2008, he returned to VAW-116, this time as their Safety Officer and Operations Officer. In 2011, CDR Whorton reported as the Program Support Branch Chief, Deputy Directorate for Global Operations, Joint Staff at the Pentagon. His most recent sea duty assignment was as the Strike Operations Officer onboard the USS JOHN C. STENNIS (CVN-74) in Bremerton, Washington.

In July 2001, CDR Whorton deployed with the USS CARL VINSON (CVN-70) Carrier Strike Group to the western Pacific Ocean during the opening of OPERATION ENDURING FREEDOM. In April 2006, he deployed with the USS ABRAHAM LINCOLN (CVN-72) Carrier Strike Group to the western Pacific Ocean and with CVN-72 in 2010 to support OPERATION ENDURING FREEDOM and OPERATION IRAQI FREEDOM. His latest deployment was to the western Pacific Ocean with CVN-74 in January 2016.

CDR Whorton has accumulated more than 2,500 flight hours in the E-2C/D Hawkeye, F/A-18, F-16, EA-6B and T-34C. In addition, he has flown more than 360 combat hours and in excess of 400 carrier arrested landings.

His personal awards include the Defense Meritorious Service Medal, Meritorious Service Medal, Strike/Flight Air Medal, five Navy Commendation Medals (one with Combat V), Navy Achievement Medal and various other unit and service awards.

Mr. Gerard Garay

VX-20 Technical Director

Mr. Garay graduated from the University of Maryland in May 1988 with a Bachelor of Science degree in Aerospace Engineering. Immediately following graduation, Mr. Garay reported to the Carrier Suitability Department, at the Strike Aircraft Test Directorate. He assumed the role of a flight test engineer, conducting test and evaluation on a variety of programs, including catapult launch and arrested landing structural/functional tests, shore-based and shipboard aircraft certification/compatibility, contractor demonstration programs, Flying Qualities and Performance (FQ&P) testing and simulation evaluations with platforms including F/A-18, F-14, A-6, EA-6B, AV-8, S-3, T-45, OV-10 and P-3 aircraft. In August 1994, he performed a rotational assignment at Naval Air Systems Command within the F/A-18 Program Office (PMA-265) as a Test and Evaluation (T&E) Coordinator, before returning to the Ship Suitability Department at the Strike Aircraft Test Directorate.

In June 1996, Mr. Garay graduated from the United States Naval Test Pilot School (USNTPS), Fixed Wing Flight Mechanics, as a member of Class 109. Following graduation from USNTPS, he was assigned as a flight test engineer to the F/A-18E/F Integrated Test Team (ITT) for the Engineering, Manufacturing and Development (EMD) test program. Following F/A-18E/F EMD, he returned to the Ship Suitability Department, acting as a flight test engineer until February 1999, when he assumed the role of Government Flight Test Director (GFTD) for the X-31 VECTOR (Vectoring, Extremely short take-off and landing, Control, Tailless Operations Research) program.

In August 2000, Mr. Garay assumed the roles of both F/A-18A-D Air Vehicle and Foreign Military Sales (FMS) Team Lead for the Strike Aircraft Test Squadron. In December 2000, he graduated from Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University with a Master of Science degree in Aerospace Sciences. In April 2002, he assumed the roles of F/A-18A-D, EA-18G and FMS Platform Coordinator for the Air Test and Evaluation Squadron TWO THREE (VX-23). In September 2007, Mr. Garay assumed the role of Technical Director for VX-23.

Senior Chief Nathan Hon

VX-20 Command Senior Chief

A native of El Paso, TX, Senior Chief Hon enlisted in the Navy in June 1999 and attended Recruit Training Command in Great Lakes, Illinois.  After completing RTC, he received his initial Cryptologic Communications training at Cryptologic Technician Communication “A” school in Pensacola, Florida.  After “A” school he attended a follow-on in-rate “C” school there in Pensacola.

His sea duty assignments include ship’s company on board USS BONHMOME RICHARD (LHD 6) in San Diego, California; Fleet Air Recon Squadron Two (VQ-2) in Rota, Spain; Special Operations Command (SOCCENT SEA) in Tampa, Florida; Commander, Task Force 69 (CTF-69) in Naples, Italy and deployed IA to Balad, Iraq (CJSOTF-AP) and Kabul, Afghanistan (CFSOCC-A).

His shore duty assignments include Recruit Training Command, Great Lakes, Illinois and Commander Strategic Communications Wing One (SCW-1) in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma.

He has qualified as Surface Warfare Specialist, Aviation Warfare Specialist, Information Warfare Specialist, and Master Training Specialist.  He is a graduate of the Naval War College Primary Professional Military Education course and Senior Enlisted Academy (Class 183).  He has earned his Associate degree in Business Administration, his Bachelor degree in Human Recourse Management, and his Master’s degree in Leadership.

His personal awards include the Defense Meritorious Service Medal (1), Joint Commendation Medal (2), Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medal (1), Joint Service Achievement Medal (2), Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal (6), Military Outstanding Volunteer Service Medal (1) and various other unit and campaign awards.

VX-20

Air Test and Evaluation Squadron TWO ZERO (VX 20) is a proud member of Naval Air Systems Command and traces its roots to the founding of Naval Air Station (NAS) Patuxent River, Maryland. Recognizing the need for Navy flight test effort consolidation, NAS Patuxent River was established on April 1, 1943. The location was selected due to coast proximity, air traffic congestion and isolation. On June 16, 1945, Naval Air Test Center (NATC) (Flight Test Division, Weapon Systems Test Division, Service Test Division, and the United States Naval Test Pilot School) was designated as the center for Navy flight test. In April 1975, NATC was reorganized into the Antisubmarine Aircraft Test Directorate, Strike Aircraft Test Directorate, Rotary Wing Aircraft Test Directorate, Systems Engineering Test Directorate, and the United States Naval Test Pilot School. In June 1986, the directorate was renamed Force Warfare Aircraft Test Directorate. In May 1995, the organization officially became a squadron and was renamed Naval Force Aircraft Test Squadron. In May 2002, the squadron was designated Air Test and Evaluation Squadron TWO ZERO. Throughout its history, the squadron supported the Fleet through the full spectrum test and evaluation of VS, VP, VAW, VRC, VQ, VR, VUP, VMGR, and VT community aircraft.

Current aircraft supporting test at VX-20 are the C-2A, C-12M, C-38, E-2C/D, E 6B, C/KC-130J/T, MQ-4C, P-8A, and T-6A.

Commanding Officer

Cmdr. Matthew Tharp

VX-20 Commanding Officer

Commander Tharp graduated in 1999 from the United States Naval Academy in Annapolis, Maryland with a Bachelor of Science degree in Aerospace Engineering.

After commissioning, he attended primary and intermediate flight training at Training Squadron TEN (VT-10) at Naval Air Station Pensacola, Florida.  Upon completion of training, CDR Tharp reported to Carrier Airborne Early Warning Squadron ONE TWO ZERO (VAW-120), the E-2/C-2 Fleet Replacement Squadron, for advanced training, where he earned his wings in June 2001.  Six months later, he reported to Carrier Airborne Early Warning Squadron ONE TWO FOUR (VAW-124), located in Norfolk, Virginia.  While assigned to VAW-124, CDR Tharp participated in Counter Narcotics Missions in the Caribbean, as well as combat missions in support of OPERATION IRAQI FREEDOM.

In 2004, CDR Tharp returned to VAW-120 for instructor duty.  In January 2007, he reported to United States Naval Test Pilot School, where he graduated later that year as a member of Class 132.  In January 2008, following graduation, he reported to Air Test and Evaluation Squadron TWO ZERO (VX-20).  As a project officer at VX-20, CDR Tharp planned, executed, and reported on developmental flight test for the E-2C, E-2D, and NC-130 test programs.

In 2010, CDR Tharp reported to Carrier Airborne Early Warning Squadron ONE ONE FIVE (VAW-115) at Naval Air Facility Atsugi, Japan as a department head, where he served as the Safety Officer, Administrative Officer, and Maintenance Officer.  In 2011, following a devastating tsunami and nuclear disaster in Japan, he participated in humanitarian operations as part of OPERATION TOMODACHI.  He reported back to VX-20 in August 2012 to serve as the E-2D Government Flight Test Director.

In 2015, CDR Tharp reported onboard the USS RONALD REAGAN as the Air Operations Officer.  In this capacity he lead the Carrier Air Traffic Control Center team through an unprecedented three-aircraft carrier crew and hull swap and a homeport change to Yokosuka, Japan.

In April 2017, CDR Tharp returned to Naval Air Station Patuxent River to serve as the VX-20 Chief Test Pilot.

CDR Tharp has accumulated more than 2,600 flight hours in 21 different aircraft.  His personal awards include the Meritorious Service Medal (two awards), Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medal (four awards), Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal (two awards), and numerous other unit-level awards.

Executive Officer

Cmdr. Carl Whorton

VX-20 Executive Officer

CDR Whorton holds a Master of Arts degree in Acquisition and Procurement Management from Webster University. In 1997, he received his commission as a graduate of the United States Naval Academy with a Bachelor of Science degree in Oceanography.

In 1999, CDR Whorton reported to the "Wallbangers" of Carrier Airborne Early Warning Squadron ONE ONE SEVEN at Naval Air Station Point Mugu, where he served as Naval Flight Officer Training and Naval Air Training and Operating Procedures Standardization Officer. After completing sea duty in 2003, he was assigned as an instructor at Carrier Airborne Early Warning Weapons School at Naval Strike and Air Warfare Center in Fallon, Nevada. In 2006, CDR Whorton reported as the Training Officer to the "Sun Kings" of Carrier Airborne Early Warning Squadron ONE ONE SIX (VAW-116) at Naval Air Station Point Mugu. The following year, he served with the United States Army as a student at the Command and General Staff College in Fort Leavenworth, Kansas. Shortly thereafter, in 2008, he returned to VAW-116, this time as their Safety Officer and Operations Officer. In 2011, CDR Whorton reported as the Program Support Branch Chief, Deputy Directorate for Global Operations, Joint Staff at the Pentagon. His most recent sea duty assignment was as the Strike Operations Officer onboard the USS JOHN C. STENNIS (CVN-74) in Bremerton, Washington.

In July 2001, CDR Whorton deployed with the USS CARL VINSON (CVN-70) Carrier Strike Group to the western Pacific Ocean during the opening of OPERATION ENDURING FREEDOM. In April 2006, he deployed with the USS ABRAHAM LINCOLN (CVN-72) Carrier Strike Group to the western Pacific Ocean and with CVN-72 in 2010 to support OPERATION ENDURING FREEDOM and OPERATION IRAQI FREEDOM. His latest deployment was to the western Pacific Ocean with CVN-74 in January 2016.

CDR Whorton has accumulated more than 2,500 flight hours in the E-2C/D Hawkeye, F/A-18, F-16, EA-6B and T-34C. In addition, he has flown more than 360 combat hours and in excess of 400 carrier arrested landings.

His personal awards include the Defense Meritorious Service Medal, Meritorious Service Medal, Strike/Flight Air Medal, five Navy Commendation Medals (one with Combat V), Navy Achievement Medal and various other unit and service awards.

Technical Director

Mr. Gerard Garay

VX-20 Technical Director

Mr. Garay graduated from the University of Maryland in May 1988 with a Bachelor of Science degree in Aerospace Engineering. Immediately following graduation, Mr. Garay reported to the Carrier Suitability Department, at the Strike Aircraft Test Directorate. He assumed the role of a flight test engineer, conducting test and evaluation on a variety of programs, including catapult launch and arrested landing structural/functional tests, shore-based and shipboard aircraft certification/compatibility, contractor demonstration programs, Flying Qualities and Performance (FQ&P) testing and simulation evaluations with platforms including F/A-18, F-14, A-6, EA-6B, AV-8, S-3, T-45, OV-10 and P-3 aircraft. In August 1994, he performed a rotational assignment at Naval Air Systems Command within the F/A-18 Program Office (PMA-265) as a Test and Evaluation (T&E) Coordinator, before returning to the Ship Suitability Department at the Strike Aircraft Test Directorate.

In June 1996, Mr. Garay graduated from the United States Naval Test Pilot School (USNTPS), Fixed Wing Flight Mechanics, as a member of Class 109. Following graduation from USNTPS, he was assigned as a flight test engineer to the F/A-18E/F Integrated Test Team (ITT) for the Engineering, Manufacturing and Development (EMD) test program. Following F/A-18E/F EMD, he returned to the Ship Suitability Department, acting as a flight test engineer until February 1999, when he assumed the role of Government Flight Test Director (GFTD) for the X-31 VECTOR (Vectoring, Extremely short take-off and landing, Control, Tailless Operations Research) program.

In August 2000, Mr. Garay assumed the roles of both F/A-18A-D Air Vehicle and Foreign Military Sales (FMS) Team Lead for the Strike Aircraft Test Squadron. In December 2000, he graduated from Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University with a Master of Science degree in Aerospace Sciences. In April 2002, he assumed the roles of F/A-18A-D, EA-18G and FMS Platform Coordinator for the Air Test and Evaluation Squadron TWO THREE (VX-23). In September 2007, Mr. Garay assumed the role of Technical Director for VX-23.

Command Senior Chief

Senior Chief Nathan Hon

VX-20 Command Senior Chief

A native of El Paso, TX, Senior Chief Hon enlisted in the Navy in June 1999 and attended Recruit Training Command in Great Lakes, Illinois.  After completing RTC, he received his initial Cryptologic Communications training at Cryptologic Technician Communication “A” school in Pensacola, Florida.  After “A” school he attended a follow-on in-rate “C” school there in Pensacola.

His sea duty assignments include ship’s company on board USS BONHMOME RICHARD (LHD 6) in San Diego, California; Fleet Air Recon Squadron Two (VQ-2) in Rota, Spain; Special Operations Command (SOCCENT SEA) in Tampa, Florida; Commander, Task Force 69 (CTF-69) in Naples, Italy and deployed IA to Balad, Iraq (CJSOTF-AP) and Kabul, Afghanistan (CFSOCC-A).

His shore duty assignments include Recruit Training Command, Great Lakes, Illinois and Commander Strategic Communications Wing One (SCW-1) in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma.

He has qualified as Surface Warfare Specialist, Aviation Warfare Specialist, Information Warfare Specialist, and Master Training Specialist.  He is a graduate of the Naval War College Primary Professional Military Education course and Senior Enlisted Academy (Class 183).  He has earned his Associate degree in Business Administration, his Bachelor degree in Human Recourse Management, and his Master’s degree in Leadership.

His personal awards include the Defense Meritorious Service Medal (1), Joint Commendation Medal (2), Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medal (1), Joint Service Achievement Medal (2), Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal (6), Military Outstanding Volunteer Service Medal (1) and various other unit and campaign awards.

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