Cmdr. Joseph McGilley, USCG, has turned over command of Training Squadron TWO (VT-2) to Cmdr. Zachariah Aperauch, USN. The transition occurred during a March 24 Change of Command ceremony in the Naval Air Station Whiting Field North Field hangar.

Retired U.S. Coast Guard Capt. William D. Cameron served as guest speaker for the traditional event, which allows for assembled crew, staff, friends and guests to welcome the new commander while also recognizing the outgoing leader’s achievements. 

McGilley’s leadership led VT-2 to fly more than 30,000 flight hours in the completion of more than 18,800 sorties.  This dedication to training enabled the squadron to complete 350 Student Aviators through the Primary Flight Training syllabus during his command tour. 

“His unwavering commitment to professionalism and instruction were evidenced in the unit’s selection for the chief of Naval Air Training’s 2014 Training Excellence Award, the 2015 Commander Theodore G. Ellyson Aviator Production Excellence Award, and a grade of ‘Outstanding’ on the 2016 Chief of Naval Air Training Flight Instructor Standardization inspection,” a Whiting Field media release states.

Commanding VT-2 was the latest stop on a 20-year military aviation career that began in March 1997 in Pensacola and Milton with his primary flight training with VT-2. 

He “winged” as a helicopter pilot from Helicopter Training Squadron EIGHT before being stationed in Clearwater, Fla., where he flew the HH-60J Jayhawk helicopter.  Since then he served tours at Coast Guard Stations in San Diego; Elizabeth City, N.C.; Astoria, Ore.; and the USCG Office of Aeronautical Engineering.

McGilley also completed advanced education at Purdue University’s Graduate School of Aeronautical and Astronautical Engineering.

Aperauch will draw upon his 17 years of naval service and experience.

His career began after graduating from Old Dominion University in 1999 and earning his commission from Officer Candidate School in May 2000. 

He has served tours with the “Vanguard” of HM-14; AWSTS as a fleet replacement squadron instructor; Joint Staff J7 division; and the USS San Antonio (LPD 17). 

He earned a master’s degree in National Security and Strategic Studies from the Joint Forces Staff College.

Cmdr. Mark A. Jackson, USCG, will replace Aperauch as the squadron’s executive officer.