Navy’s rotary test squadron changes command
Lt. Col. Matthew Baumann took command of Air Test and Evaluation Squadron (HX) 21 from Cmdr. Daniel Short during a change of command ceremony at Naval Air Station Patuxent River, May 5.
Force Requirements Director for Naval Air Forces Capt. Tamera Graham was an early career mentor for Short and presided over the ceremony.
“Teams like the [HX-21 Blackjacks] don’t come about on their own, they develop through a culture of ownership, trust, and purpose,” said Graham. “Cmdr. Short - that’s a culture you’ve led here, and Lt. Col. Baumann - you’ve been an integral part of that.”
Baumann served as the HX-21 Chief Test Pilot during Short’s tour as commanding officer. Prior to joining HX-21 as Chief Test Pilot, Baumann served as the Integrated Product Team lead for the CH/MH-53E Super Stallion. He also oversaw the survivability systems for the MV-22, CV-22, and CMV-22. At HX-21, Baumann previously served as the H-1 department head and operations officer.
“Today we are given the opportunity to look back at these accomplishments and feel proud of what we’ve done,” said Baumann. "We must continue to look forward in the right direction, and I look forward to supporting the squadron in that effort.”
A 2013 graduate of the U.S. Naval Test Pilot School, Baumann has over 2,000 hours in 28 different aircraft. His personal awards include the Meritorious Service Medal, Air Medal, Joint Service Commendation Medal, Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medal, and the Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal.
“Blackjacks are the best team I’ve ever been on," said Short. "[This team] always said 'yes, if' never 'no, because' - my only challenge was keeping up with how fast you were going.”
Prior to leading HX-21 in 2020, Short served as Chief Test Pilot and Government Flight Test Director for both the MH-60 and CH-53K programs. At MH-60, he led developmental efforts on the U.S. Navy MH-60R/S, HH-60H, and FMS H-60s including the helmet display and tracker system, rocket and weapons systems, and the first flight of the Spanish SH-60F. At CH-53K, he led the structural envelope expansion, fly-by-wire flight control law development, and performance flight test. Short also served on the staff of the Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Navy for Air Programs. He was the first Navy pilot to fly the CH-53K.
A 2008 graduate of the U.S. Naval Test Pilot School, Short has over 2,950 hours in 52 different aircraft. His personal awards include the Meritorious Service Medal, Navy Commendation Medal, Navy Achievement Medal, and Humanitarian Service Medal.
During the ceremony, Naval Test Wing Atlantic Commodore Col. Richard E. Marigliano awarded Short a gold star in lieu of his second award of the Meritorious Service Medal and presided over the change of command ceremony.
HX-21 is a component of Naval Test Wing Atlantic, test wing under the Naval Air Warfare Center Aircraft Division. Nicknamed the “Blackjacks,” the squadron provides developmental flight test and evaluation for U.S. Navy and Marine Corps rotary-wing and tilt-rotor aircraft. NAS Patuxent River is home to HX-21 since 1949 where the squadron advances capability and readiness for six families of aircraft including the CH-53E/K, the C/MV-22, the H-1Y/Z, MH-60R/S, the Presidential Helicopter fleet.
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