CNATTU welcomes new skipper

Cmdr. David Latosky, left, and Cmdr. Charles Murphy stand during the formal reading of orders, as Latosky turns over command of the Center for Naval Aviation Technical Training Unit June 3. Dennis Connolly/Whidbey Crosswind

What Cmdr. David Latosky said he really enjoyed is working with his shipmates.
He was looking out at the Navy and Marine Corps men and women at the change of command ceremony for the Center for Naval Aviation Technical Training Unit last Friday.

The ceremony was held at the Skywarrior Theater on Naval Air Station Whidbey Island. More than 400 had come to see Cmdr. Latosky turn his command over to Cmdr. Charles Murphy.

Latosky spoke with pride about the men and women he knew during his three years at CNATTU.

“I was surrounded by professionals,” Latosky said “truly professional people that really made my time here as the commanding officer of CNATTU Whidbey Island very special.”

As commands go, Latosky said CNATTU is a little different.

“We don’t have aircraft to fly or ships to sail,” he said.  “We are in the training business and the products of our labor are sailors and Marines, technicians and operators; aircrew — men and women who will show up at squadrons maintaining those aircraft and putting them in the air. Quite simply that is what my command is charged with, turning those young Americans into professionals.”

As commanders go, Latosky may be a little different as well.

He spent 10 years as an enlisted man and achieved the rank of Anti-Submarine Warfare Chief Petty Officer prior to his selection as a Limited duty officer and commissioned as an Ensign in October 1991.

He relates to both enlisted and officers, like many Mustangs, because he’s done both their jobs.

Latosky said CNATTU trains today’s aviation professionals for tomorrow’s missions.

He also said he measures this training organization against any in the nation with certainty that this is the finest center for naval aviation technical training in the land.

“Hooyah!” Cmdr. Latosky said to the crowd.

“Hooyah!” the crowd responded immediately and loudly.

He repeated the phrase a couple of times more during his speech and the response was as immediate, and as loud, every time.

His relief, Cmdr. Charles Murphy, said it was fitting to have the change of command ceremony on June 3, when organizations across the country celebrated the Battle of Midway, which was conducted from June 4-7, 1942, and is widely regarded as the most important naval battle of the Pacific Campaign of World War II.

Then Murphy related an incident where he had big shoes to fill.

Last August he attended the Prowler award ceremony for Skipper Latosky. As he was leaving work through the main doors, his right shoe blew out and the sole separated from the rest of the shoe.

With a shoe that sounded a like flip-flop, the prospect of walking through a quiet hangar in front of formations, commanders and civilians was daunting, especially with minutes to go before the ceremony.

Murphy said he thought  perhaps Skipper Latosky had an extra pair of dress white shoes in his office. He did. They were too big, but at least Murphy had dress shoes that didn’t sound like flip-flops.

“So I can tell you right now that if you have expectations, I can fill Dave’s shoes as the new CO, I can now literally say that won’t happen,” Murphy said. “However figuratively, yes.”

The commanders proceeded to read their orders and officially changed command.