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NEWS | Oct. 16, 2023

Maritime Support Wing Holds Change of Command Ceremony

By Chief Mass Communication Specialist Chelsea Milburn, Commander, Naval Air Force Reserve Public Affairs

Capt. Edward Hoak was relieved by Capt. Nathan Rodenbarger as Commodore, Maritime Support Wing (MSW) in a ceremony at the I-Bar courtyard on Naval Base Coronado, Calif., Sept. 21.

Current and retired MSW Sailors traveled from around the country to join in the celebration of the end and beginning of Hoak’s and Rodenbarger’s respective tours.
Rear Adm. Brad Dunham, Commander, Naval Air Force Reserve (CNAFR), spoke as the ceremony’s guest speaker.

“One thing you need to know about [Hoak] is that when he develops a command culture, it’s about his people,” said Dunham. “He develops that teamwork and sense of family. That is one of the keys to his success with what he’s done at MSW.”
Dunham went on to describe the impact of Hoak’s leadership on MSW, from the complex task of safely disestablishing the “Firehawks” of Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron (HSC) 85 through the many accomplishments of MSW’s Patrol Squadrons (VPs) and the “Jaguars” of Helicopter Maritime Strike Squadron (HSM) 60.
“In addition to overseeing the decommissioning of HSC-85 this year, he oversaw the transition of the two VP squadrons, VP-62 and VP-69, [from the P-3 Orion to P-8 Poseidon],” said Dunham. “To transition squadrons from one aircraft to another is not an easy evolution to go through. If you think about it, it’s not just the execution of flying; it’s the maintenance; it’s the manpower; it's the flight hours; it's all of the details that go into transitioning squadrons.”
Dunham went on to describe the impressive contributions of HSM-60 throughout 2022.
“HSM-60 deployed over multiple deployments throughout the year, including pop-up missions supporting counter narcotics, where they seized over $240 million in drug assets off the coast of Florida and down near South America,” explained Dunham. “The scope and scale of what he oversaw at Maritime Support Wing was second to none. I can’t thank [Hoak, Rodenbarger] and their team enough.”

Hoak then took the podium.

“Thank you, Admiral, for the kind words and your leadership as MSW remains in lockstep with your vision,” said Hoak. “Moving forward, I sincerely appreciate the opportunity to work as your deputy. On behalf of MSW, I want to thank you for your resolve and your commitment to excellence.”
He went on to thank his wife, daughter and family members in attendance before thanking the friends who traveled to show their support to Hoak and Rodenbarger. He then turned to address Rodenbarger directly.
“It’s fitting that the helicopters are roaring as I turn the attention to [Rodenbarger],” said Hoak. “Our paths first crossed as CNAFR [program managers], again over our command tours in Jacksonville, when he was at HSM-60, and I was at VP-62, and a third time in Millington before reconnecting here. Needless to say, I was elated to know that you and I would be leading MSW together. As I said last year, your level of professionalism and absolute dedication to mission were evident from the minute I stepped in and continue to this day.”
Hoak spoke of the incoming leadership team as he prepared to pass on the role.
“I simply couldn’t have picked a better command triad,” Hoak said with a smile. “I look forward to continuing to serve with each of you, while watching MSW thrive under your leadership.”
When Hoak stepped back from the podium, the ceremony proceeded, and he was officially relieved.
Rodenbarger took a moment to thank Dunham for his words, his friends and family for being in attendance, as well as recognize the support of his wife and children throughout his career.
He then thanked two of his mentors, Commander, Reserve Forces Command Rear Adm. Michael J. Steffen and Rear Adm. Scott Jones, retired. Steffen was the first commodore of Maritime Support Wing, and Jones retired as CNAFR in 2022.
“Admiral Steffen, I’d like to recognize you, sir,” said Rodenbarger. “I know you’re busy and just coming in on a touch and go into town to be here for us. It means a lot. Going way back to our [Helicopter Anti-Submarine Squadron Light (HSL)] 60 days, you always make time for people. On behalf of myself and countless others, thank you. MSW will always be Mike Steffen’s Wing to us.”
“Admiral Jones, I can’t thank you enough for your mentorship over the years,” Rodenbarger continued. “It’s great to see you and your family, sir.”
Lastly, Rodenbarger spoke to MSW Deputy Commodore Peter Lauder, Command Master Chief (CMC) Rob Lyons, and the MSW staff.
“CMC Lyons, thank you for your leadership, your amazing advocacy of our Sailors, day in and day out,” he said. “Pete, it’s already been great having you here in the few months leading up to this. It’s been great working with you again. I’m looking forward to keeping MSW in the fairway with you.”
“To the MSW staff, thanks for everything you do in support of our squadrons. Your dedication to service and the mission is awesome. Please keep it up.”
Maritime Support Wing is a Navy Reserve air wing comprised of rotary and patrol units. MSW’s rotary squadron, Helicopter Maritime Strike Squadron (HSM) 60, provides strategic depth in helicopter maritime strike and airborne mine countermeasures. MSW’s patrol squadrons, Patrol Squadrons (VP) 62 and 69, provide enduring littoral surveillance radar system (LSRS) and intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) operational support to the fleet.