Capt. Michael Orr (left) is relieved by Capt. David Rueter as program manager for the Airborne Electronic Attack Systems Program Office (PMA-234) during a change of command ceremony on Aug. 5. Rear Adm. Shane Gahagan (center), Program Executive Officer for Tactical Aircraft Programs presided over the ceremony. (U.S. Navy Photo)

PMA-234 holds change of command

Capt. David Rueter relieved Capt. Michael Orr to become the 19th program manager of the Airborne Electronic Attack (AEA) Systems Program Office (PMA-234), during a private change of command ceremony Aug. 5.

Rear Adm. Shane Gahagan, Program Executive Officer for Tactical Aircraft Programs who presided over the ceremony, complimented Orr on the ability to navigate the program office during extreme environments.

“I am incredibly proud of the work that Capt. Orr has done to lead this program office over the past few years,” said Gahagan. “He has been a tremendous asset to his team, PEO(T) and naval aviation. His hard work and dedication are directly reflected in the strides that PMA-234 has made to increase naval aviation readiness through process improvements and bringing new capabilities to the fleet.”

Under Orr’s leadership, the program office retired the EA-6B Prowler; established the Joint Program Office with the Royal Australian Air Force; received approval for the Next Generation Jammer (NGJ) Mid-Band to enter the production and deployment phase and proceed with low-rate initial production; and awarded the engineering and manufacturing development contract for NGJ Low-Band, which was only a concept when he first accepted command.

Orr, a 1995 graduate of the U.S. Naval Academy, was selected to fly the EA-6B Prowler out of flight school and spent his entire operational career supporting the Electronic Warfare (EW) mission.

With characteristic humility, Orr professed what an “honor and humbling experience” his time spent with the program was and then took a moment to thank attendees including Scott Dailey, PMA-234 principal deputy program manager and his family for being his inspiration and motivation.

“Leading the men and women of PMA-234 these last four years has been the highest honor of my professional life,” said Orr. “I am so proud of what this amazing team has done in support of the EW warfighter and look forward to hearing the even greater contributions that they will achieve in the future.”

After Rueter officially took the reins of the AEA program office, he took a moment to recognize his predecessor’s success.

“I can’t thank Capt. Orr enough for the outstanding leadership and accomplishments he’s given to PMA-234 and the Airborne Electronic Attack community over the years,” said Rueter. We are a more capable Navy and Nation because of his dedication.”

With 21 years in the Electronic Attack community, Rueter accumulated more than 2,900 flight hours in 22 different aircraft and completed 658 carrier arrested landings, including 105 combat missions.

While on shore duty, Rueter served as Air Test and Evaluation Squadron (VX) 23 project officer for EA-6B and EA-18G. In 2016, he reported to the F/A-18 and EA-18G Program Office (PMA-265), serving as both the EA-18G Growler Systems Integrated Program Team lead and the deputy program manager, which uniquely prepared him to lead the 1,100-member workforce at PMA-234.

Most recently, Rueter served as Executive Assistant to the Principal Military Deputy, Assistant Secretary of the Navy (Research, Development & Acquisition).

Rueter closed with a message to the PMA-234 team with whom he will share the next four years, “I’m humbled to be joining this amazing organization and look forward to continuing to advance the electronic attack capabilities of the joint force.”

PMA-234 is responsible for acquiring, delivering, and sustaining AEA systems, providing combatant commanders with capabilities that enable mission success.

Story by Lisa Rendzio, PMA-234 Communications

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