CDR Elizabeth Somerville
VX-31 Chief Test Pilot
(U.S. Navy Photo)
Commander Elizabeth Somerville is a native of Cape Cod, Massachusetts. She attended the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, graduating in 1999 with a Bachelor of Science degree in Aeronautical and Astronautical Engineering and receiving her commission through the NROTC program. Following flight training in Pensacola, Florida, CDR Somerville earned her Wings of Gold as a Naval Flight Officer in October of 2000 and reported to VAQ-129 for fleet replacement training in the EA-6B Prowler.
Upon completion of the FRS in November of 2001, CDR Somerville reported to the Shadowhawks of VAQ-141 where she completed a Mediterranean deployment onboard USS THEODORE ROOSEVELT (CVN 71.) During this tour, she participated extensively in combat operations in Operation IRAQI FREEDOM. Following the 2003 deployment, CDR Somerville earned her Prowler Tactics Instructor (PTI) qualification and acted in multiple squadron roles, culminating in Training Officer and Safety Officer.
After her tour with VAQ-141, CDR Somerville was accepted into the US Naval Test Pilot School Cooperative Program and reported to the Air Force Institute of Technology (AFIT) in May of 2004 to obtain her post-graduate degree. While at AFIT, she studied advanced navigation techniques with an emphasis on complex GPS signal processing.
Following the completion of her course of study at AFIT, CDR Somerville joined US Naval Test Pilot School Class 130 where she learned the fundamentals of flight test and evaluation, flying 18 different aircraft types over a period of 10 months. Upon graduation in December of 2006, she was awarded a Master of Science degree in Aeronautical Engineering as part of the TPS Co-Op program as well as the Outstanding Graduate Award for TPS Class 130.
After Test Pilot School graduation, CDR Somerville joined the Dust Devils of VX-31 in China Lake, CA. While at VX-31, her flight test role consisted of the test and evaluation of F/A-18D, F/A-18F and EA-18G weapons and aircraft software. She also served as the EA-18G and HARM Project Officer, responsible for the initial flight test of the EA-18G Growler, culminating in the delivery of the new Electronic Attack platform to the fleet.
In July 2009, CDR Somerville reported to VAQ-141 once again as a Department Head, joining them right as the squadron completed a transition from the EA-6B to the EA-18G. During this tour, she served as Maintenance Officer for the first CVN work-up cycle with the EA-18G and subsequently took over as Operations Officer for the upcoming maiden aircraft carrier deployment of both the EA-18G and the USS George H. W. Bush (CVN 77) in support of Operation ENDURING FREEDOM.
Following her Department Head tour, in April of 2012, CDR Somerville reported to Airborne Electronic Attack Systems and EA-6B Program Office (PMA-234) as the Next Generation Jammer (NGJ) Integration IPT Lead. She was responsible for the integration of the NGJ tactical jamming system on the EA-18G. During this tour she transitioned to Aerospace Engineering Duty Officer (AEDO.) She managed the design of the Engineering Change Proposals (ECPs) to the EA-18G required to integrate NGJ from pre-Milestone A through PDR.
CDR Somerville was selected for Aviation Command and was slated to the “Dust Devils” of Air Test and Evaluation Squadron THREE ONE (VX-31). She assumed the duties of Chief Test Pilot in January 2016
CDR Somerville’s personal decorations include the Air Medal (2 Strike/Flight Award and One Individual Award with Combat “V”,) Meritorious Service Medal, Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medal (two awards,) Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal (two awards) and various campaign medals and unit citations. She has accumulated over 2000 hours, primarily in the EA-6B, F/A-18F and EA-18G.
CDR Somerville is married to Jeromy Somerville of Pensacola, Florida. They currently live in Ridgecrest, California with their two daughters, Emily, age 6 and Megan, age 2.
Last Update 17-Aug-2016 12:28