Miller relieves Shoemaker, becomes Navy's 8th Air Boss
SAN DIEGO - Commander, Naval Air Forces (CNAF) held a change of command ceremony in the hangar of Fleet Logistics Support Squadron (VR) 57 at Naval Air Station North Island, Jan. 11.
During the ceremony, Vice Adm. DeWolfe H. Miller III relieved Vice Adm. Mike Shoemaker as CNAF.
While serving as the Navy's "Air Boss" since January 2015, Shoemaker ensured the material readiness, administration and training for all Naval Aviation commands and provided operationally ready squadrons and aircraft carriers to the fleet. He also led the Naval Aviation Enterprise, a partnership between Navy and Marine Corps aviation organizations that work closely to improve processes for more efficient and effective Naval Aviation forces.
During his tenure, Shoemaker focused naval aviation on its founding principles, eliminated barriers to sustaining strike fighter inventory, and secured funding for warfighting readiness. He improved quality of life and quality of service while building the required readiness foundation for USS Gerald R. Ford (CVN 78) through to its commissioning. Shoemaker and his team also manned, trained and equipped multiple carrier strike groups for successful deployments, oversaw the improvement of carrier maintenance, and further development of technology and platforms in the carrier air wing.
Vice Chief of Naval Operations Adm. Bill Moran was the guest speaker. Commander, U.S. Pacific Fleet Adm. Scott H. Swift presented Shoemaker with the Distinguished Service Medal on behalf of the president for displaying extraordinary strategic vision, analytical insight and inspirational leadership as CNAF.
Shoemaker thanked all those who supported him throughout his career and commended Miller.
"It has been my distinct honor and privilege, and the highlight of my 35-year career, to serve as your Air Boss for the last 3 years," said Shoemaker. "This morning I will turn over command of this great organization and all Naval Aviation Forces to Vice Adm. Bullet Miller. He has had an extraordinary career as a light attack and strike fighter pilot, [commanding officer] of George H.W. Bush on her maiden deployment, command of the Bush Strike Group, and most recently as your director of Air Warfare (N98) in the Pentagon. He is well versed in all the readiness issues facing Naval Aviation, as well as the future capabilities required to continue to pace the threat. He and his wife Ellen are the perfect choice to lead Naval Aviation going forward, and I know you will support them the same way you all did Peg and me."
Peg Shoemaker, Vice Adm. Shoemaker's wife, was also recognized for her time and dedication to support Navy families, and was presented with the Superior Public Service Award.
Immediately following the change of command, Shoemaker retired after 35 years of naval service.
Miller addressed the men and women of CNAF for the first time as the Navy's eight Air Boss and described the value of Naval Aviation.
"Look around you. We are naval aviation. We are critical part of a larger Navy team. We stand on the shoulders of giants who preceded us," said Miller. "For me, those include legends like Dunleavy, Godwin, Tyson, Gortney, Keating, Shoemaker. We are lethal military professionals. We are courageous, disciplined and accountable. We serve with integrity and we lead with humility and compassion. We excel in the air and we make a difference in the world. We fly, we fight, we lead, we win."
CNAF, headquartered at Naval Air Station North Island, effectively mans, trains and equips 10 combat-ready aircraft carriers, 10 carrier air wings, 170 squadrons, and more than 100,000 personnel.