By Anne Owens, Chief of Naval Air Training Public Affairs
Chief of Naval Air Training (CNATRA) Reserve Component held a change-of-command ceremony at the National Naval Aviation Museum aboard Naval Air Station Pensacola, Florida, Oct. 9.
Capt. Rigel “Pep” Pirrone relieved Rear Adm. William L. “Wilbur” Angermann as commanding officer and Angermann also promoted during the ceremony.
Commander, Naval Air Force Reserve Rear Adm. Scott "Jonser" Jones served as guest speaker. He praised Angermann for his leadership, keeping the team’s focus on training during a challenging year.
“Since its inception, Naval Reserve aviation has been tightly aligned with the objectives of the Active Component,” Jones said. “Our Squadron Augment Units provide an unparalleled level of flexibility and a graduate level of experience that compliments the active duty CNATRA instructor cadre. Wilbur has done a superb job of making CNATRA the world-class organization that it is today, and Pep – while you have big shoes to fill, I know you will continue to produce the next generation of Pilots and NFOs that will keep the Naval Aviation Enterprise winning for generations to come!”
Angermann, a native of New Hope, Pennsylvania, earned his Wings of Gold with Training Squadron (VT) 4. He served two years with CNATRA and took command of the Reserve Component in January 2019. Under his leadership, the Reserve Component mitigated active-duty manning shortfalls resulting in a 20 percent increase in CNATRA’s overall aviator production.
Angermann has assumed the position of deputy commander, U.S. Naval Air Forces Atlantic. His previous tours include Commander, U.S. 3rd Fleet Maritime Air Operations Det. Fort Worth, Texas, and Reserve chief staff officer, U.S. Fleet Forces Command. He has accumulated more than 6,000 flight hours in various military aircraft and has flown more than 3,000 sorties as an instructor pilot.
“My time serving as Reserve Component commander has been a sincere honor,” Angermann said. “I have worked with elite professionals who are essential to training and developing the future of Naval Aviation. My appreciation goes out to the hard working instructor pilots that make up our Reserve component.”
Pirrone is a native of Buffalo, New York, and received his Wings of Gold in 2001. He previously served as an instructor pilot at both VT-7 and Strike Fighter Squadron (VFA) 125, and earned recognition as Instructor Pilot of the Year in 2008. He has completed two Western Pacific deployments aboard USS Abraham Lincoln (CNV 72) flying the F/A-18E/F Super Hornet and served as commanding officer of VFA-204. Most recently he commanded Training Air Wing 5 Reserve Component out of NAS Whiting Field in Milton, Florida. He has accumulated more than 3,500 flight hours and 250 arrested landings.
"We will continue to leverage the extraordinary talent of the men and women who have chosen to continue serving our nation after leaving active duty,” Pirrone said. “Our Reservists combine extensive military and civilian leadership experience and serve as ideal instructors and mentors for the next generation of warfighters. I could not be more proud to lead this team.”
CNATRA, headquartered in Corpus Christi, trains the world's finest combat quality aviation professionals, delivering them at the right time, in the right numbers, and at the right cost to a naval force that is where it matters, when it matters.