VX-30 "Bloodhounds"

Established in May 1995, VX-30 is a weapons test squadron whose mission is to provide research, development, test, and evaluation of manned and unmanned fixed and rotary wing aircraft and weapons systems. VX-30 also provides support to the Point Mugu Sea Range, both locally and worldwide. Squadron manning is composed of approximately 30 officers, 80 enlisted sailors, 20 civilians, and 100 contractors.

The Bloodhounds and their sister squadron VX-31 make up the two components of the Naval Test Wing Pacific. 

To accomplish its mission, VX-30 operates a diverse inventory of manned aircraft, including the NP-3D Orion, P-3C Orion and KC-130T Hercules. Additionally, the Bloodhounds are the Navy's premier West Coast test facility for Unmanned Air Systems (UAS), currently operating the RQ-23A TigerShark. VX-30 counts designation as “the responsible test organization” among its many achievements.

Bloodhound aircraft accomplish range surveillance, photometric support, area clearance, and airborne telemetry on the Naval Air Systems Command Sea Test Range. Project officers lead several weapon system developmental test programs for the Fleet. The Range Department operational specialists are responsible for safety of flight and range clearance for the 36,000 square mile Point Mugu Sea Range. The Airborne Threat Simulation Detachment routinely deploys worldwide to meet unique weapon testing needs at remote ranges and to provide fleet support.

Cmdr. Colette Lazenka

Commanding Officer, VX-30

Cmdr. Colette Lazenka, a native of Horsham, Pennsylvania, graduated from the United States Naval Academy in May 2002 and earned her Naval Flight Officer wings in December 2003.

After attending Fleet Replacement Squadron training at Patrol Squadron Thirty (VP) 30, Lazenka reported to VP-46 at Naval Air Station Whidbey Island, Washington in October 2004. While at VP-46, she served as the command security manager, AWO division officer, and NFO training officer. She also completed numerous deployments in support of Operations Enduring Freedom and Iraqi Freedom. Lazenka earned Commander, Naval Air Forces NFO of the Year award in 2007 for exceptional ASW expertise.

In June 2008, Lazenka reported to United States Naval Test Pilot School as a member of Class 135 and graduated with distinction. She then reported to Air Test and Evaluation Squadron (VX) 20 in NAS Patuxent River, Maryland. There, she served as the P-8A Poseidon mission system’s lead, P-8A assistant developmental test director, and NFO Naval Air Training and Operating Procedures Standardization officer. While attached to VX-20, she flew over 30 “Cat C” flight tests and led acceptance testing for the Navy’s first seven P-8A aircraft.

In October 2011, Lazenka reported to VP-30 at NAS Jacksonville, Florida, as the P-8A Fleet Integration Team Operations Officer and NFO NATOPS officer. She helped transition the first four P-3C squadrons to the P-8A and led the acceptance of eight P-8As for VP-30. Following her tour at VP-30, she reported to VP-5 in February 2014 for her Department Head tour, during which she completed two deployments to the Pacific Theatre and served as the VP-5 NATOPS, training, and operations officer.

She reported to the Advanced Sensors Technology (AST) Program Office at Joint Base Anacostia-Bolling in Washington, D.C. in June 2016. Serving as the Advanced Airborne Sensor (AAS) Training IPT Lead, she delivered ACAT-1D AAS Radar training simulators and courseware to the P-8A Fleet. She then reported to the MQ-25 Unmanned Carrier Aviation (UCA) Program Office (PMA-268) in April 2019 at NAS Patuxent River as the UCA Mission Control System (UMCS) Product IPT Lead. Lazenka reported to VX-30 at Naval Base Ventura County in Point Mugu, California, in November 2020 as the chief test pilot before taking command in May 2022.

Lazenka is an Aviation Engineering Duty Officer and designated Acquisition Professional with career field certifications in Test & Evaluation and Program Management. She earned her masters in Aviation Systems from the University of Tennessee and is currently pursuing her PhD in Higher Education Administration from Liberty University. Her personal decorations include the Air Medal Strike/Flight (three awards), Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medal (eight awards), and various unit and campaign awards.

 

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Thomas Gelker

Technical Director, VX-30

Thomas Gelker, a native of Eugene, Oregon, graduated from Oregon State University with a Bachelor of Science degree in Business Management and was commissioned an ensign in the Navy in 1992.   

After earning his Naval Aviator wings in 1995 and completing E-2C+ Group II Hawkeye training at Airborne Early Warning Squadron (VAW) 120 in Norfolk, Virginia, Gelker reported to the “Black Eagles” of VAW-113 in Miramar, California.  While there, he earned his Carrier Aircraft Commander (CAPC) and Landing Signal Officer (LSO) qualifications, completed a successful deployment aboard USS Abraham Lincoln (CVN 72), and moved with the squadron to Naval Base Ventura County Point Mugu, California, when all west coast E-2s changed their homeport in 1998.   

He returned to VAW-120 in 2000 where he was an E-2C+ instructor pilot, Training LSO, NATOPS model manager, and Hawkeye demonstration pilot.  In 2002 he was assigned as the Strike Operations officer on the Carrier Strike Group 4 staff where he completed another deployment aboard the USS George Washington (CVN 73).   Gelker next went to his department head tour with the “Bear Aces” of VAW-124, where he made his third deployment aboard USS Theodore Roosevelt (CVN 71), during which they were the first squadron to transition to, and deploy with, the new 8-bladed propellers.

His next two tours were as the E-2 and C-2 Aircraft Requirements Offer on the Commander Naval Air Forces staff at Norfolk, Virginia, then as the Cooperative Engagement Capability and Combat Identification Requirements Officer in the Surface Directorate on the Chief of Naval Operations staff at the Pentagon.

Following his tour in the Pentagon, Gelker reported to Naval Recruiting District Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, as executive officer and subsequently became commanding officer for his final active duty tour. 

In 2013, Gelker transitioned from the Navy and returned to the Pentagon as the assistant E-2C/E-2D and Naval Integrated Fire Control – Counter Air Requirements Officer on the OPNAV staff, first  in the Information Warfare Directorate, then in the Aviation Directorate.  He was instrumental in validating warfighter requirements then briefing naval and Joint leadership to secure and defend funding for vital E-2D capability upgrades.  He also supported the International Partner directorate at the Joint Program Office for the Joint Strike Fighter (F-35) in Crystal City, Virginia, before returning to California and joining Naval Air Warfare Center Weapons Division in Point Mugu in 2017.

Before being designated as Technical Director, Gelker served as the E-2D Platform Coordinator at Air Test and Evaluation Squadron (VX) 30.  He also assisted in the stand-up of the E-2D test capability at NAWCWD/VX-30 and participated in the planning and execution of multiple successful ground and flight tests.  He was also a supervisor/branch head in NAWCWD’s Flight Test Directorate, first in the Weapons T&E Division, then in the Integrated Warfare T&E Division.  He was also a member of the NAWCWD Capabilities Based Test and Evaluation execution team, tasked to train and assist program/project test leads in CBTE methodology and integration into their efforts.      

 

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Cmdr. Devin Holmes

Chief Test Pilot, VX-30

Cmdr. Devin Holmes, a native of Traverse City, Michigan, graduated from the United States Naval Academy in May 2005 with a Bachelor of Science degree in Aerospace Engineering. He later earned a Master of Science degree in Systems Engineering from the Naval Postgraduate School in 2014.

Holmes completed flight training and earned his Naval Aviator wings in August 2007. After attending fleet replacement squadron training at Patrol Squadron (VP) 30 in Jacksonville, Florida, he reported to the “Skinny Dragons” of VP-4 in Kaneohe, Hawaii. While with the Skinny Dragons, Holmes deployed to the SOUTHCOM, CENTCOM, EUCOM, and INDOPACOM areas of responsibility and qualified as Mission Commander and Instructor Pilot in the P-3C Orion.

Holmes then attended Naval Postgraduate School and the United States Naval Test Pilot School and was assigned to Air Test and Evaluation Squadron (VX) 20 at Patuxent River, Maryland in 2014 where he served as a P-8A Test Pilot and Project Officer at the P-8A Integrated Test Team.

In 2017, Holmes reported to the “Mad Foxes” of VP-5 as a Department Head. In addition to P-8A deployments to the EUCOM and INDOPACOM areas of responsibility, the squadron also received Air-to-Air Refueling capability as well as the Advanced Airborne Sensor (AAS) configuration. He served as Operations Officer for the Mad Foxes and was the Commander, Maritime Patrol and Reconnaissance Wing 11 recipient of the Navy and Marine Association peer-selected leadership award for 2019.

In 2019, Holmes served at the Advanced Sensor Technologies Program Office at Joint Base Anacostia-Bolling in Washington, D.C. In 2021 he was redesignated as an Aerospace Engineering Duty Officer, and in 2022 reported to VX-30 in Point Mugu, California where he currently serves as Chief Test Pilot. He has over 2,000 flight hours and has flown over 25 different Type/Model/Series of aircraft.

                                                                                                           

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Cmdr. Charles Lewis

Executive Officer, VX-30

Cmdr. Charles Lewis, a native of Blacksburg, Virginia, graduated from the United States Naval Academy with a Bachelor of Science in History and received his commission with the class of 2005.  He completed flight training at Training Squadron (VT) 28 and VT-31 in Corpus Christi, Texas, and was winged as a naval aviator in August 2007.

After receiving his initial P-3C training with Patrol Squadron (VP) 30 at Naval Air Station Jacksonville, Florida, Lewis reported to the “Red Lancers” of VP-10 in Naval Air Station Brunswick, Maine, where he deployed in support of Operation Enduring Freedom in 2009 and 2011.  His duties included airframes branch officer, sponsor and indoctrination coordinator, assistant admin officer, schedules officer, and pilot NATOPS Officer.  He earned his qualifications as patrol plane commander, patrol plane mission commander, and patrol plane instructor pilot.

In September 2011, Lewis joined VP-30 as a Fleet Replacement Squadron instructor pilot.  While there, he was assigned as ISD Pilot Program manager, MPRWS ACTC pilot, and MPRWS weapons pilot.  He earned his qualifications as a FRS instructor pilot, Fleet IUT instructor pilot, FRS IUT instructor pilot, and Weapons and Tactics instructor. 

In September 2014, Lewis reported to Special Projects Patrol Squadron (VPU) 2 in Kaneohe, Hawaii, where he was assigned as line division officer, senior watch officer, and pilot training officer.  He earned his qualifications as special mission aircraft commander, and mission commander.

Lewis joined the “Tridents” of VP-26 in April 2017 as a department head and completed P-8A deployments to the INDOPACOM and EUCOM areas of responsibility.  He served as the command services officer, CTF-72 LNO, safety NATOPS officer, future operations officer, and maintenance officer.

In June 2019, Lewis reported to VP-30 and served as the NATOPS Department head, P-8A NATOPS program manager and Senior P-8A NATOPS evaluator.  He reported to Air Test and Evaluation Squadron (VX) 30 at Naval Base Ventura County in Point Mugu, California, in July 2022 to serve as the executive officer. 

His personal decorations include the Meritorious Service Medal, Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medal (3 Awards), Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal, and various campaign and unit awards.  

 

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VX-30 "Bloodhounds"

Established in May 1995, VX-30 is a weapons test squadron whose mission is to provide research, development, test, and evaluation of manned and unmanned fixed and rotary wing aircraft and weapons systems. VX-30 also provides support to the Point Mugu Sea Range, both locally and worldwide. Squadron manning is composed of approximately 30 officers, 80 enlisted sailors, 20 civilians, and 100 contractors.

The Bloodhounds and their sister squadron VX-31 make up the two components of the Naval Test Wing Pacific. 

To accomplish its mission, VX-30 operates a diverse inventory of manned aircraft, including the NP-3D Orion, P-3C Orion and KC-130T Hercules. Additionally, the Bloodhounds are the Navy's premier West Coast test facility for Unmanned Air Systems (UAS), currently operating the RQ-23A TigerShark. VX-30 counts designation as “the responsible test organization” among its many achievements.

Bloodhound aircraft accomplish range surveillance, photometric support, area clearance, and airborne telemetry on the Naval Air Systems Command Sea Test Range. Project officers lead several weapon system developmental test programs for the Fleet. The Range Department operational specialists are responsible for safety of flight and range clearance for the 36,000 square mile Point Mugu Sea Range. The Airborne Threat Simulation Detachment routinely deploys worldwide to meet unique weapon testing needs at remote ranges and to provide fleet support.

Cmdr. Colette Lazenka

Commanding Officer, VX-30

Cmdr. Colette Lazenka, a native of Horsham, Pennsylvania, graduated from the United States Naval Academy in May 2002 and earned her Naval Flight Officer wings in December 2003.

After attending Fleet Replacement Squadron training at Patrol Squadron Thirty (VP) 30, Lazenka reported to VP-46 at Naval Air Station Whidbey Island, Washington in October 2004. While at VP-46, she served as the command security manager, AWO division officer, and NFO training officer. She also completed numerous deployments in support of Operations Enduring Freedom and Iraqi Freedom. Lazenka earned Commander, Naval Air Forces NFO of the Year award in 2007 for exceptional ASW expertise.

In June 2008, Lazenka reported to United States Naval Test Pilot School as a member of Class 135 and graduated with distinction. She then reported to Air Test and Evaluation Squadron (VX) 20 in NAS Patuxent River, Maryland. There, she served as the P-8A Poseidon mission system’s lead, P-8A assistant developmental test director, and NFO Naval Air Training and Operating Procedures Standardization officer. While attached to VX-20, she flew over 30 “Cat C” flight tests and led acceptance testing for the Navy’s first seven P-8A aircraft.

In October 2011, Lazenka reported to VP-30 at NAS Jacksonville, Florida, as the P-8A Fleet Integration Team Operations Officer and NFO NATOPS officer. She helped transition the first four P-3C squadrons to the P-8A and led the acceptance of eight P-8As for VP-30. Following her tour at VP-30, she reported to VP-5 in February 2014 for her Department Head tour, during which she completed two deployments to the Pacific Theatre and served as the VP-5 NATOPS, training, and operations officer.

She reported to the Advanced Sensors Technology (AST) Program Office at Joint Base Anacostia-Bolling in Washington, D.C. in June 2016. Serving as the Advanced Airborne Sensor (AAS) Training IPT Lead, she delivered ACAT-1D AAS Radar training simulators and courseware to the P-8A Fleet. She then reported to the MQ-25 Unmanned Carrier Aviation (UCA) Program Office (PMA-268) in April 2019 at NAS Patuxent River as the UCA Mission Control System (UMCS) Product IPT Lead. Lazenka reported to VX-30 at Naval Base Ventura County in Point Mugu, California, in November 2020 as the chief test pilot before taking command in May 2022.

Lazenka is an Aviation Engineering Duty Officer and designated Acquisition Professional with career field certifications in Test & Evaluation and Program Management. She earned her masters in Aviation Systems from the University of Tennessee and is currently pursuing her PhD in Higher Education Administration from Liberty University. Her personal decorations include the Air Medal Strike/Flight (three awards), Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medal (eight awards), and various unit and campaign awards.

 

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Thomas Gelker

Technical Director, VX-30

Thomas Gelker, a native of Eugene, Oregon, graduated from Oregon State University with a Bachelor of Science degree in Business Management and was commissioned an ensign in the Navy in 1992.   

After earning his Naval Aviator wings in 1995 and completing E-2C+ Group II Hawkeye training at Airborne Early Warning Squadron (VAW) 120 in Norfolk, Virginia, Gelker reported to the “Black Eagles” of VAW-113 in Miramar, California.  While there, he earned his Carrier Aircraft Commander (CAPC) and Landing Signal Officer (LSO) qualifications, completed a successful deployment aboard USS Abraham Lincoln (CVN 72), and moved with the squadron to Naval Base Ventura County Point Mugu, California, when all west coast E-2s changed their homeport in 1998.   

He returned to VAW-120 in 2000 where he was an E-2C+ instructor pilot, Training LSO, NATOPS model manager, and Hawkeye demonstration pilot.  In 2002 he was assigned as the Strike Operations officer on the Carrier Strike Group 4 staff where he completed another deployment aboard the USS George Washington (CVN 73).   Gelker next went to his department head tour with the “Bear Aces” of VAW-124, where he made his third deployment aboard USS Theodore Roosevelt (CVN 71), during which they were the first squadron to transition to, and deploy with, the new 8-bladed propellers.

His next two tours were as the E-2 and C-2 Aircraft Requirements Offer on the Commander Naval Air Forces staff at Norfolk, Virginia, then as the Cooperative Engagement Capability and Combat Identification Requirements Officer in the Surface Directorate on the Chief of Naval Operations staff at the Pentagon.

Following his tour in the Pentagon, Gelker reported to Naval Recruiting District Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, as executive officer and subsequently became commanding officer for his final active duty tour. 

In 2013, Gelker transitioned from the Navy and returned to the Pentagon as the assistant E-2C/E-2D and Naval Integrated Fire Control – Counter Air Requirements Officer on the OPNAV staff, first  in the Information Warfare Directorate, then in the Aviation Directorate.  He was instrumental in validating warfighter requirements then briefing naval and Joint leadership to secure and defend funding for vital E-2D capability upgrades.  He also supported the International Partner directorate at the Joint Program Office for the Joint Strike Fighter (F-35) in Crystal City, Virginia, before returning to California and joining Naval Air Warfare Center Weapons Division in Point Mugu in 2017.

Before being designated as Technical Director, Gelker served as the E-2D Platform Coordinator at Air Test and Evaluation Squadron (VX) 30.  He also assisted in the stand-up of the E-2D test capability at NAWCWD/VX-30 and participated in the planning and execution of multiple successful ground and flight tests.  He was also a supervisor/branch head in NAWCWD’s Flight Test Directorate, first in the Weapons T&E Division, then in the Integrated Warfare T&E Division.  He was also a member of the NAWCWD Capabilities Based Test and Evaluation execution team, tasked to train and assist program/project test leads in CBTE methodology and integration into their efforts.      

 

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Cmdr. Devin Holmes

Chief Test Pilot, VX-30

Cmdr. Devin Holmes, a native of Traverse City, Michigan, graduated from the United States Naval Academy in May 2005 with a Bachelor of Science degree in Aerospace Engineering. He later earned a Master of Science degree in Systems Engineering from the Naval Postgraduate School in 2014.

Holmes completed flight training and earned his Naval Aviator wings in August 2007. After attending fleet replacement squadron training at Patrol Squadron (VP) 30 in Jacksonville, Florida, he reported to the “Skinny Dragons” of VP-4 in Kaneohe, Hawaii. While with the Skinny Dragons, Holmes deployed to the SOUTHCOM, CENTCOM, EUCOM, and INDOPACOM areas of responsibility and qualified as Mission Commander and Instructor Pilot in the P-3C Orion.

Holmes then attended Naval Postgraduate School and the United States Naval Test Pilot School and was assigned to Air Test and Evaluation Squadron (VX) 20 at Patuxent River, Maryland in 2014 where he served as a P-8A Test Pilot and Project Officer at the P-8A Integrated Test Team.

In 2017, Holmes reported to the “Mad Foxes” of VP-5 as a Department Head. In addition to P-8A deployments to the EUCOM and INDOPACOM areas of responsibility, the squadron also received Air-to-Air Refueling capability as well as the Advanced Airborne Sensor (AAS) configuration. He served as Operations Officer for the Mad Foxes and was the Commander, Maritime Patrol and Reconnaissance Wing 11 recipient of the Navy and Marine Association peer-selected leadership award for 2019.

In 2019, Holmes served at the Advanced Sensor Technologies Program Office at Joint Base Anacostia-Bolling in Washington, D.C. In 2021 he was redesignated as an Aerospace Engineering Duty Officer, and in 2022 reported to VX-30 in Point Mugu, California where he currently serves as Chief Test Pilot. He has over 2,000 flight hours and has flown over 25 different Type/Model/Series of aircraft.

                                                                                                           

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Cmdr. Charles Lewis

Executive Officer, VX-30

Cmdr. Charles Lewis, a native of Blacksburg, Virginia, graduated from the United States Naval Academy with a Bachelor of Science in History and received his commission with the class of 2005.  He completed flight training at Training Squadron (VT) 28 and VT-31 in Corpus Christi, Texas, and was winged as a naval aviator in August 2007.

After receiving his initial P-3C training with Patrol Squadron (VP) 30 at Naval Air Station Jacksonville, Florida, Lewis reported to the “Red Lancers” of VP-10 in Naval Air Station Brunswick, Maine, where he deployed in support of Operation Enduring Freedom in 2009 and 2011.  His duties included airframes branch officer, sponsor and indoctrination coordinator, assistant admin officer, schedules officer, and pilot NATOPS Officer.  He earned his qualifications as patrol plane commander, patrol plane mission commander, and patrol plane instructor pilot.

In September 2011, Lewis joined VP-30 as a Fleet Replacement Squadron instructor pilot.  While there, he was assigned as ISD Pilot Program manager, MPRWS ACTC pilot, and MPRWS weapons pilot.  He earned his qualifications as a FRS instructor pilot, Fleet IUT instructor pilot, FRS IUT instructor pilot, and Weapons and Tactics instructor. 

In September 2014, Lewis reported to Special Projects Patrol Squadron (VPU) 2 in Kaneohe, Hawaii, where he was assigned as line division officer, senior watch officer, and pilot training officer.  He earned his qualifications as special mission aircraft commander, and mission commander.

Lewis joined the “Tridents” of VP-26 in April 2017 as a department head and completed P-8A deployments to the INDOPACOM and EUCOM areas of responsibility.  He served as the command services officer, CTF-72 LNO, safety NATOPS officer, future operations officer, and maintenance officer.

In June 2019, Lewis reported to VP-30 and served as the NATOPS Department head, P-8A NATOPS program manager and Senior P-8A NATOPS evaluator.  He reported to Air Test and Evaluation Squadron (VX) 30 at Naval Base Ventura County in Point Mugu, California, in July 2022 to serve as the executive officer. 

His personal decorations include the Meritorious Service Medal, Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medal (3 Awards), Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal, and various campaign and unit awards.  

 

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