Growler 12 Public Affairs
AMBERLEY, Australia – The “Scorpions” of Electronic Attack Squadron (VAQ) 132 held a change of command ceremony at Royal Australian Air Force Base Amberley, Australia, Oct. 4.
During the ceremony, Cmdr. John Kurtz relieved Cmdr. Jay Matzko as commanding officer for the EA-18G Growler squadron.
Based in Oak Harbor, Wash., VAQ 132 is currently on a six-month deployment to Misawa, Japan. They are in Australia conducting Growler 12, a bilateral exercise with the Royal Australian Air Force focusing on Airborne Electronic Attack (AEA) joint training, real-world proficiency, employment and integration while promoting bilateral military relationships.
Capt. John Springett, Commander, Electronic Attack Wing, U.S. Pacific Fleet, to which VAQ 132 is assigned, spoke at the event and recognized the achievements of the squadron under Matzco.
“The squadron has maintained the highest standards of readiness, maintenance, retention, and advancement, and as a result has been recognized with nearly every unit award that we can give them,” said Springett.
He also expressed the importance of the work the squadron was doing with the Australian Air Force.
Springett said, “We are honored to be allies, and I truly believe that the strong relationship between our two countries contributes to the peace, security and stability of the region.”
During the ceremony, Springett presented Matzco with the Meritorious Service Medal for his performance as commanding officer.
Matzco thanked his squadron for their outstanding efforts and performance. He told them he was proud to have been a Scorpion, and that he hoped they were just as proud of themselves.
He also recognized the importance of the strong relationship with Australia this exercise contributes to, stressing the ongoing relationship and the expanding work in AEA.
As his last act before turning over command, Matzco awarded Lt. William Orr and Aviation Structural Mechanic Chief Petty Officer Kurt Hester with Navy Achievement Medals for their service under his command. VAQ 132 traditionally gives these awards at the end of a commanding officer’s assignment to a junior officer and Chief Petty Officer who show inspiration, leadership and excellence in the performance of their duties. The award is given in honor of Lt. j.g. Tommy L. Masten and Aviation Electronics Technician Chief Petty Officer Richard H. Edwards, VAQ 132 Sailors lost at sea during a night catapult launch Dec. 4, 1968 in their EKA-3 Skywarrior aircraft.
After formally taking command, Kurtz, who had been the squadron’s executive officer until the event, thanked Matzko and then addressed his squadron. He told them that they are the finest squadron on the flight-line, as all the awards that they have earned are testament to. He closed the ceremony by expressing his confidence that they will continue their exceptional performance.
For more information, please contact the Growler 12 PAO at GR12PAO@gmail.com