Capt. Elizabeth Somerville

Commodore, Naval Test Wing Atlantic

Captain 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, CAPT 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, CAPT 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 as a Prowler Tactics Instructor. 

After her tour with VAQ-141, CAPT Somerville was accepted into the US Naval Test Pilot School (USNTPS) Cooperative Program and reported to the Air Force Institute of Technology (AFIT) in May of 2004 and then graduated as a member of USNTPS Class 130 with a Master of Science degree in Aeronautical Engineering as part of the TPS Co-Op program.

After Test Pilot School graduation, CAPT Somerville joined the Dust Devils of VX-31 in China Lake, CA.  While at VX-31, her flight test roles 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.

In July 2009, CAPT 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, CAPT Somerville reported to Airborne Electronic Attack Systems and EA-6B Program Office (PMA-234) as the Next Generation Jammer (NGJ) Integration IPT Lead and transitioned to Aerospace Engineering Duty Officer (AEDO.) 

CAPT Somerville was selected to Command the “Dust Devils” of Air Test and Evaluation Squadron THREE ONE (VX-31) in China Lake, CA. She assumed the duties of Chief Test Pilot in January 2016 and Commanding Officer in July 2017.  As the CO of VX-31, she led a team responsible for the developmental flight test for aircraft software development and weapons testing for the F/A-18 A-F, EA-18G, AV-8B.  Additionally, the command was responsible for conducting Search and Rescue (SAR) with the MH-60S for the southern California and high desert region.  Following VX-31, she reported to VX-23 as the Chief Test Pilot of the VX-23 Salty Dogs in Patuxent River, MD in October of 2019 and Commanding Officer in July 2021.  Following VX-23 CAPT Somerville will report as Commander, Naval Test Wing Atlantic in August of 2022.

CAPT Somerville’s personal decorations include the Air Medal (2 Strike/Flight Award and One Individual Award with Combat “V”,) Meritorious Service Medal (two awards,) 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 2500 hours, primarily in the EA-6B, F/A-18F and EA-18G.