News

David takes over NAS Whidbey

As of next Friday, Whidbey Island Naval Air Station will have a new head honcho.

Capt. Gerral K. David will relieve Capt. R. Sydney Abernethy as Commanding Officer of the base during a formal ceremony at 11 a.m. Friday, July 27.

The guest speaker is Luke Visconti, partner and co-founder of Diversity, Inc., based in Newark, N.J. Visconti served as a U.S. Navy aviator and commissioned officer from 1982 to 1990 and in the Reserves until 1992.

Abernethy, a 1981 graduate of the United States Naval Academy, is retiring to the Seattle area with 26 years of military service. Under Abernethy’s leadership as Commanding Officer, NAS Whidbey Island won the 2006 Commander in Chief Installation Excellence Award as the top Navy base and was selected as Navy Region Northwest’s top installation to compete again in 2007.

Although Abernethy will pursue a career in the private sector, he said he will take his Navy training and philosophies with him.

“Being in the Navy is a commitment to something that’s larger than you are,” he said. David should have a solid foundation already laid by Abernethy when he accepts the command.

According to a Navy news release, David, a native of Conroe, Texas, graduated from the U.S. Naval Academy in 1984 with a Bachelor of Science in General Engineering.

After flight training, he earned his Naval Flight Officer wings in July 1985. In April 1986, he began his first operational tour with Patrol Squadron 24 at NAS Jacksonville, Fla. While he was a “Batman,” he qualified as a Tactical Coordinator and Mission Commander for P-3C missions and for Project Beartrap. He completed two deployments to Sigonella, Sicily and one to Bermuda as well as numerous special project detachments throughout the Atlantic Fleet. His first shore tour was at Navy Recruiting District, Houston where he served as the Enlisted Programs Officer.

He returned to the fleet in April 1992, reporting aboard USS Kitty Hawk (CV-63) based at NAS North Island, Calif. David served as the Assistant Strike Operations Officer and completed a deployment to the West Pacific, which included support for Somalia during Operation Restore Hope and air strikes into Iraq as part of Operation Southern Watch.

In June 1994, David reported to Commander, Patrol Wing 10 at NAS Whidbey Island, where he reestablished the Tactics/Special Projects Department at the wing’s new homeport.

After completing refresher training, David reported to Patrol Squadron 46 in September 1995 while the “Grey Knights” were deployed to Diego Garcia. He served as the Tactics Officer and Administrative Officer before assignment as the Officer in Charge of the Kadena detachment during a deployment to Misawa, Japan. He completed his tour as the Operations Officer and then assumed duties as the Flag Secretary for the Superintendent of the U.S. Naval Academy in June 1997.

He graduated from the Naval War College with distinction and earned a Master of Arts in National Security and Strategic Studies before joining Patrol Squadron 47.

David assumed command of the “Golden Swordsmen” in May 2002. During his tour, the squadron received the CNO Safety Award, Isbell Award for Air Anti-Submarine Warfare Excellence, Commander Pacific Fleet Retention Excellence Award, Joint Meritorious Unit Award, two Meritorious Unit Commendations, Global War on Terrorism Expeditionary and Service Medals as well as the Philippine Presidential Unit Citation while participating in Operations Iraqi Freedom and Enduring Freedom.

Before reporting to NAS Whidbey Island this month, he served as the Maritime Readiness Section Head and Deputy Force Requirements Officer for Commander, Naval Air Forces at NAS North Island, Calif.

David is authorized to wear three Meritorious Service Medals, three Navy Commendation Medals, three Navy Achievement Medals and numerous unit, service, and campaign awards. He and his family look forward to reestablishing residence in Oak Harbor.

Abernethy has called Whidbey Island, and specifically Oak Harbor, the best community relationship he has ever felt. The new Commanding Officer should be right at home in a town where the civilians embrace the military.

he said he will take his Navy training and philosophies with him.

“Being in the Navy is a commitment to something that’s larger than you are,” he said. David should have a solid foundation already laid by Abernethy when he accepts the command.

According to a Navy news release, David, a native of Conroe, Texas, graduated from the U.S. Naval Academy in 1984 with a Bachelor of Science in General Engineering.

After flight training, he earned his Naval Flight Officer wings in July 1985. In April 1986, he began his first operational tour with Patrol Squadron 24 at NAS Jacksonville, Fla. While he was a “Batman,” he qualified as a Tactical Coordinator and Mission Commander for P-3C missions and for Project Beartrap. He completed two deployments to Sigonella, Sicily and one to Bermuda as well as numerous special project detachments throughout the Atlantic Fleet. His first shore tour was at Navy Recruiting District, Houston where he served as the Enlisted Programs Officer.

He returned to the fleet in April 1992, reporting aboard USS Kitty Hawk (CV-63) based at NAS North Island, Calif. David served as the Assistant Strike Operations Officer and completed a deployment to the West Pacific, which included support for Somalia during Operation Restore Hope and air strikes into Iraq as part of Operation Southern Watch.

In June 1994, David reported to Commander, Patrol Wing 10 at NAS Whidbey Island, where he reestablished the Tactics/Special Projects Department at the wing’s new homeport.

After completing refresher training, David reported to Patrol Squadron 46 in September 1995 while the “Grey Knights” were deployed to Diego Garcia. He served as the Tactics Officer and Administrative Officer before assignment as the Officer in Charge of the Kadena detachment during a deployment to Misawa, Japan. He completed his tour as the Operations Officer and then assumed duties as the Flag Secretary for the Superintendent of the U.S. Naval Academy in June 1997.

He graduated from the Naval War College with distinction and earned a Master of Arts in National Security and Strategic Studies before joining Patrol Squadron 47.

David assumed command of the “Golden Swordsmen” in May 2002. During his tour, the squadron received the CNO Safety Award, Isbell Award for Air Anti-Submarine Warfare Excellence, Commander Pacific Fleet Retention Excellence Award, Joint Meritorious Unit Award, two Meritorious Unit Commendations, Global War on Terrorism Expeditionary and Service Medals as well as the Philippine Presidential Unit Citation while participating in Operations Iraqi Freedom and Enduring Freedom.

Before reporting to NAS Whidbey Island this month, he served as the Maritime Readiness Section Head and Deputy Force Requirements Officer for Commander, Naval Air Forces at NAS North Island, Calif.

David is authorized to wear three Meritorious Service Medals, three Navy Commendation Medals, three Navy Achievement Medals and numerous unit, service, and campaign awards. He and his family look forward to reestablishing residence in Oak Harbor.

Abernethy has called Whidbey Island, and specifically Oak Harbor, the best community relationship he has ever felt. The new Commanding Officer should be right at home in a town where the civilians embrace the military.

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