Thursday, August 6, 2009

Buckley retires, PMA-208 helm turned over to McNamara

U.S. Navy photo
The reins of command for the Aerial Target and Decoy Systems Program Office (PMA-208) at Pax River changed hands during a change-of-command ceremony held July 17 in the atrium of the Rear Adm. William A. Moffett building.

Capt. Patrick E. Buckley passed the command flag to Capt. Dan McNamara, who became the 12th Program Manager of PMA-208.

Rear Adm. William Shannon, Program Executive Officer, (Unmanned Aviation and Strike Weapons), hosted the event. During the ceremony, he noted that Buckley was a third generation Naval Academy graduate. His son Sean is in the Class of 2012, making him the fourth generation of Buckleys to attend the U.S. Naval Academy. Buckley’s grandfather Argyll Buckley was in the Class of 1927 and a World War Two aviator; his father is a retired Capt. in the Supply Corps.

Shannon addressed a few of the various program products which span all phases of the acquisition life cycle under Buckley’s command, saying, ‘‘These kind of capabilities across the wide array of projects don’t happen by accident; it takes the charismatic visionary leadership of a program manager like Capt. Buckley to make it happen.”

Shannon characterized this leadership: ”You can tell Pat’s program office folks. They’re the ones with the ‘put me in coach’ sparkle in their eyes and a certain proud air about them because they’ve been able to do so much — often with so little.” During the ceremony Buckley was awarded the Legion of Merit for excellence in acquisition program management.

Looking to the future, Shannon said, ‘‘We all know Dan McNamara and we know that there’s nobody more qualified than Dan to fill in behind Pat. He’s the former commanding officer of VP-40 who deployed in support of Operation Enduring Freedom, and he just returned from his tour as CO of the Naval Support Facility on Diego Garcia, where he directly supported our combatant commanders. He’s a proven Integrated program team leader and obviously a successful leader. Welcome back, Dan.”

Buckley gave an overview of his team’s contributions and recognized several industry partners that produce targets: ‘‘Northrop Grumman, the BQM-74E Subsonic target continues to be the ‘workhorse of the Fleet’; Orbital Sciences, the Coyote – a mach 2.6 sea skimmer — 15 ft. off the deck —is truly ‘America’s target’; ATK and CEi, your efforts are key to introducing the Multi-Stage Supersonic Target (MSST), the most sophisticated aerial target ever developed; MSI who builds the subsonic target controls systems, we obviously couldn’t fly without them.”

Buckley’s parting comments to the Targets Team: ‘‘Remain focused, re-main committed to excellence, remain committed to providing the Fleet the critical test and training capabilities needed to confidently send our Sailors and Marines forward. Lastly, be proud of your contributions to PMA-208, the Navy and to all the Sailors and Marines that man our ships and airplanes. You have earned that right.”

McNamara recognized the hard-working men and women supporting PMA-208. He said, ‘‘I’ve been amazed during the turnover in the last few days at your talent, expertise and passion. I am also elated at the scope of your responsibilities, and the huge impact your efforts have on the Fleet and test community. Your work is vital not only to our programs, but many other programs throughout NAVAIR and NAVSEA.” I am excited to work with you in providing threat-representative target capabilities for our Navy now and in the future.”

Rear Adm. Steven R. Eastburg was the guest speaker during the Retirement Ceremony and he recalled various events throughout Buckley’s long and distinguished 25-year career including some events at the Naval Academy.

Buckley concluded with ‘‘How long have I been in the Navy?” ....All me Bloomin’ life! ....And I’ll cherish having had the privilege of wearing the uniform for 25 years for the rest of me bloomin’ life! Service, Mission, People....That’s what I’ve always loved about the Navy. ....That’s what I’ll always treasure....and that’s what I’ll always miss.”

(Article submitted by Unmanned Aviation and Strike Weapons Public Affairs)