Training Squadron THREE executive officer, Lt. Col. Brian Schaefer will assume the mantle of leadership and take command of the unit during a ceremony Nov. 30 at Naval Air Station Whiting Field’s Atrium building. He will relieve Cmdr. Philip Brock who served as the squadron’s commanding officer for the past year.
The change of command ceremony is a time-honored Navy tradition that accounts for the passing of authority from one officer to another in front of the assembled members of the crew. Rear Adm. Sean S. Buck, Commander Patrol Reconnaissance Group will serve as the guest speaker for the event.
During Brock’s tenure as commanding officer, VT-3 was the first Naval squadron to complete fleet transition to the Department of Defense’s Joint Primary Aircraft Trainer, the T-6B. He inspired the VT-3 Red Knights to exceed all Naval Aviation Training Command mission goals by flying 43,946 flight hours in 24,975 sorties which resulted in the safe completion of 557 Student Military Aviators. Additionally, Brock instituted a program which enabled VT-3 to reduce overhead sorties by 83 percent while student check ride failures decreased by 81 percent.
Brock graduated from Norwich University in May of 1994 with a Bachelor of Science degree in Mechanical Engineering and was commissioned an Ensign as an Aviation Maintenance Duty Officer. He was selected to attend pilot training in 1996. Brock was designated Naval Aviator in July of 1998 at NAS Corpus Christie, in Corpus Christie, Texas. He has served as Deputy Director for the War on Terror and Deputy Director for Special Operations under the Joint Chiefs of Staff. Brock’s decorations include the Defense Meritorious Service Medal, Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medal, Joint Service Achievement Medal, and three Navy Achievement Medals in addition to many campaign, service and unit-specific awards. He served as the executive officer before assuming command of the unit Sept. 9, 2011.
Schafer was commissioned as an acquisition officer in May 1995 following graduation from the United States Air Force Academy. His first assignment sent him to the 4th Space Launch Squadron, Vandenberg AFB, Calif. After this first tour of duty, he began Joint Specialized Undergraduate Pilot Training in the 8th Flying Training Squadron, Vance AFB, Okla. Schafer graduated from the 1st Fighter Squadron Tyndall AFB, Fla. and served his first F-15C operational tour at Kadena AB, Japan. He also served as a member of the 44th Fighter Squadron, the 85th Test and Evaluation Squadron, and the 95th Fighter Squadron.
After three consecutive tours of flying, Schafer attended the Air Command and Staff College, before being reassigned to Tyndall AFB to work in the USAF Air to Air Weapon Systems Evaluation Program. He received follow-on orders to serve as the Director of Operations, 4th Expeditionary Reconnaissance Squadron, Bagram AB, Afghanistan. He reported to NAS Whiting Field in July 2011.
Cmdr. Judd Conatser will become the executive officer of the squadron and the prospective commanding officer in turn.