Rear Adm. Vance takes over NSAWC
Special to the Nevada Appeal
Rear Adm. Mark “Cyrus” Vance took command Friday of the Naval Strike and Air Warfare Center, by relieving Rear Adm. John Miller, who will now report to Washington, D.C.
The Friday ceremony ushered in Vance as he becomes the 10th commander of NSAWC since its inception in Fallon in 1996. The Montana native also served a tour at the Fallon base 17 years ago.
“Darien (his wife) and I could not be happier coming back to Fallon and the Naval Strike and Air Warfare Center,” said Vance. “If somebody had told me I had my choice of orders as a 2 star S and trust me, nobody did. I’d of chosen NSAWC and Fallon. We truly love it here and hope to stay for a very long time.”
Vance said NSAWC provides the total return on investment in warfighting, which is unparalleled in the Navy.
“You will find no better naval aviators, intel specialists, maintainers and support staff anywhere in the world,” he added. “I would submit that no other organization in the Navy is as responsible for Naval aviation’s success on the battle fields over Afghanistan and Iraq as NSAWC.”
The career Navy officer, a graduate of the U.S. Naval Academy, said no one was better suited to command NSAWC than Vance.
“He is phenomenally talented, extremely dedicated, and wise at the tactical, strategic and operational levels,” Miller said. “Cyrus, welcome to be best job in the Navy and Darien, welcome back to the high desert. I know the two of you will enjoy every second you have here in Fallon and I’m honored to welcome you aboard.”
Likewise, Vance commended Miller for his leadership.
“You have taken an exceptional organization, looked into the future and made it better,” he said. “I look forward to working with each of you in ranks in continuing and improving the warfighting excellence that is NSAWC.”
Vice Adm. Allen G. Myers, commander of Naval Air Forces, delivered the keynote address. He said those outside the aviation community do not recognize the importance of NSAWC or know its mission.
“What NSAWC does, is they train and prepare air group units to fight,” Myers said. “Miller’s leadership and the hard work of the NSAWC team was essential in aiding our sister services and NATO partners in quickly attaining air dominance in allowing the people of Libya to be free from tyranny. NSAWC is the naval aviation center of excellence.”
Miller, who became commander in April 2010, said Nevada’s high desert is an idea place to train pilots and that the Fallon range is one of the best in the world. He also told more than 100 people who attended the ceremony that Fallon is a great Navy town because of its support.
“Our aircrew, tactical ground controllers, and equipment operators take full advantage of the training opportunities,” Miller said. “Running the range and the base that supports operations takes a great deal of dedication by a lot of people. We’re fortunate here at NSAWC to have great neighbors who fully support and often times contribute to our operations.”
Miller said the sailors, in return, assimilate into the community by helping coach sports teams, tutor and attend church and PTA meetings. He also said he appreciated the support from the four Navy League organizations that are in Carson City, Elko, Fallon and Reno.
Additionally, both Vance and Miller recognized their families and their support. Miller, who took his last flight last week at NSAWC in an FA 18 Super Hornet, also thanked those who made that experience memorable and also praised the overall experience of commanding NSAWC.
“The flying is fantastic – some of the best to be found anywhere – and to be in a job where ‘you have to fly’ 31 years after I earned my wings,” he said.
“Well it’s just awesome. This is a great place to work because NSAWC contributes to the war every single day and if you can’t be in the war, being in a position to help those who are is very fulfilling. This is a great place to work because of the opportunity to influence the future of naval aviation.”