Rear Adm. Stephen Tedford, who oversees the Program Executive Office for Unmanned Aviation and Strike Weapons (PEO (U&W)), congratulates new Tomahawk Weapons System Program Manager Capt. Jon Michael Hersey after Capt. Vernon John Red, former program manager, turns over leadership during a change of command ceremony July 6 at Patuxent River, Md. (U.S. Navy photo)

Tomahawk program welcomes new leadership

The Navy’s Tomahawk Weapons System program office (PMA-280) welcomed a new program manager during a ceremony July 6 in Naval Air Station Patuxent River.

Rear Adm. Stephen Tedford, Program Executive Officer for Unmanned Aviation and Strike Weapons (PEO (U&W)), presided over the change of command ceremony where Capt. Jon Hersey relieved Capt. John Red, who will transition to the Defense Security Cooperation Agency in Arlington, Virginia later this month.

"For the past year, I have watched your [Red's] mastery of all things Tomahawk," Tedford said. "Your perseverance and steadfast dedication to the mission has never waivered."

Red completed two tours with PMA-280 prior to assuming role of program manager in 2019. During his tenure, he led the transition from Block IV to Block V variant and oversaw a number of upgrades to the Tomahawk weapons system including the Joint Multi-Effects Warhead System and Maritime Strike Tomahawk. His team also coordinated the first multi-service procurement of Tomahawk for the Army and Marine Corps.

From recertification and production efforts to innovative contracting strategies, Red recognized the entire team for their accomplishments of the last four years - 960 people strong, he said.

"Mike, your team is ready for your style of leadership and the challenges that have been layed forward, "Red said. "The critical need of the weapon system is clear and the program is in your hands."

A native of Westerville, Ohio, Hersey graduated from The Ohio State University in 1998 with a bachelor's degree in computer science and engineering and a master's degree in material logistics support management from the Naval Postgraduate School.

In 2020, Hersey was designated an Aerospace Maintenance Duty Officer and deployed nine times in addition to his shore assignments. His program management tours include deputy program manager for missile systems in PMA-280, deputy program manager for Supersonic Sea Skimming Target in Aerial Targets Program (PMA-208), and branch head, Office of the Chief of Naval Operations Aviation Readiness Branch (OPNAV N832) and Logistics and Readiness Branch (OPNAV N980L).

"I've inherited a remarkable team, one you have been integral in building," Hersey said to Red. "Your leadership has been deeply important in shaping the future of Tomahawk over the last few years."

Hersey will lead a geographically diverse program office of nearly 1,000 government, military and civilian personnel and a total obligation authority over $18 billion dollars.

"Working together as partners, military, civilian and contractor personnel, we make up the Tomahawk family," he said.  "We will drive to learn, maintain a positive mindset, build camaraderie ultimately achieving a modernized force that will be lethal, resilient, sustainable, survivable, agile and responsive if called upon."


Capt. Jon Michael Hersey, the new Tomahawk Weapon Systems program manager, enters his change of command ceremony July 6 at Naval Air Station Patuxent River, Md. (U.S. Navy photo)

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