MILTON — Lt. Col. Richard “DB” Roberts, USMC, has transferred command of Training Squadron SIX (VT-6) to Cmdr. Kevin Murphy, USN. The July 20 ceremony marked the transition of authority from one officer to another in front of assembled staff, instructors and students.
In April 2016, Roberts assumed command of VT-6 after serving as executive officer for the Shooters.
Roberts’ military aviation career started when he was designated a Naval Aviator in July 1999. He received an assignment for MCAS Cherry Point, N.C. for KC-130 and upon initial qualification received an assignment for Marine Aerial Refueler Transport Squadron 352 at MCAS Miramar, Calif. He completed two combat tours as a co-pilot in Operation Enduring Freedom in 2002 and Operation Iraqi Freedom in 2003. He went on to serve in the 7th Marines as a Forward Air Controller and deployed with the 1st Battalion to Al Qaim, Iraq in support of OIF II.
Roberts returned to VMGR-352 in April 2005, completing the KC-130J series conversion, and then became a weapons and tactic instructor. He also flew 208 combat sorties and over 346 mishap-free flight hours in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom as the detachment executive officer. He transferred to Headquarters Marine Corps Aviation Branch where he served as the KC-130 and Operational Support Airlift Requirements Officer.
During his tour with VT-6, Roberts executed more than 750 flight hours, including 650 instructional hours, and led seven on-wings through their initial solos and completion of primary flight training. The squadron flew more than 49,800 flight hours in the completion of more than 31,700 syllabus events. VT-6 produced 642 Navy and Marine Corps total primary completers during his tenure and the VT-6 Shooters have achieved an outstanding safety record in the execution of their mission to instruct student naval aviators.
Murphy has served as the executive officer of VT-6 since April 2016 and will assume the commanding officer title.
Murphy became a Naval aviator in 2003. His assignments include NAS Whidbey Island with the Grey Knights of Patrol Squadron FOUR SIX, Naval Station Everett as Assistant Air Operations Officer onboard USS ABRAHAM LINCOLN, Pro’s Nest Patrol Squadron THIRTY, Pelicans of Patrol Squadron FOUR FIVE, Detachment Officer in Charge in Comalapa, El Salvador and Carrier Task SOUTHCOM, EUCOM and ENTCOM AORs. Murphy served with U.S. Africa Command in 2012 and then was selected for command in 2015 to assume duties as the executive officer with VT-6.
Lt. Col. John James, USMC, will replace Murphy as executive officer for the VT-6 Shooters.