CHINA LAKE — Capt. Jeremy “JV” Vaughan assumed command of Naval Air Weapons Station China Lake from Capt. Paul “Pud” Dale during a virtual change of command ceremony on July 22.
Navy Region Southwest Commander Rear Adm. Bette Bolivar presided over the ceremony via video teleconference due to the global pandemic and current social distancing requirements, in accordance with Centers for Disease Control and Prevention health and safety protocols.
“This is certainly a strange way to conduct a change of command but I would say, and I think you guys would agree, that these times have made us more flexible, more innovative and have tested our resilience,” Bolivar said. “So despite this distance between us right now I am certainly honored to preside over this change of command … one of the Navy’s most time honored traditions.”
During the ceremony Dale was recognized for his leadership and for the many accomplishments he led team China Lake in. He was commended for his response to the 6.4 M and 7.1 M earthquakes that rocked NAWS China Lake and the City of Ridgecrest in July of 2019 and praised for his work in overseeing numerous airfield and installation safety and security infrastructure improvements.
“Pud, your accomplishments have truly reflected our mission to enable warfighter readiness,” Bolivar said. “Everything that you have done has been directed at living up to and supporting that mission. You have certainly led team China Lake through many challenges and successes!”
When asked about leaving NAWS China Lake, Dale, whose command began in December 2016, said he would miss the people most.
“It is time to bid ado, and say farewell after my family’s presence at China Lake these past four years,” Dale said. “We cherish the many friendships made along the way and are grateful for the opportunities to learn and mature over the past four years. We thank you for the many positive memories and for being with us as we worked through life’s ups-and-downs. We are confident in a bright future for all those that call China Lake home.”
Vaughan comes to NAWS China Lake from Washington, D.C. where he most recently served in the new Warfighting Development directorate on the Chief of Naval Operations staff. As the NAWS China Lake Commanding Officer he will be responsible for installation operations, as well as supporting over 20 tenant commands and their missions.
“My family and I are excited to be a part of the greater China Lake team in support of the Warfighter and defense of our nation,” he said.
The NAWS China Lake mission is to support the Navy’s research, testing and evaluation missions providing cutting-edge weapons systems to the warfighter.