Sailors wish “Fair Winds and Following Seas” to retiring commanding officer

  • Published
  • By Master Sgt. Bryan Ripple
  • 910th Airlift Wing Public Affairs
A Pittsburgh naval aviator who graduated with distinction from the U.S. Naval Academy assumed command of the Youngstown Naval and Marine Corps Reserve Center here Nov. 12.

And as far as Lt. Cmdr. Brad Davidson is concerned, the safety, training, administration and readiness already installed by retiring Lt. Cmdr. Russell Brockway is nothing to be concerned about changing. 

Davidson has logged 3,200 flight hours in his 12 years of flying in various naval aircraft and has completed 300 carrier arrested landings on eight different aircraft carriers. 

The Change of Command ceremony was held on a pleasant autumn Saturday afternoon at the Naval Reserve center where each officer, wearing dress black uniforms including swords, read their new orders. 

In Brockway's case, that means a retirement to Cincinnati, where he plans to teach as a High School Naval JROTC Instructor. During Brockway's command, the center was judged to be one of the top three Naval Reserve centers among 26 in the region. 

Since Sept. 11, 2001, the local reserve center has mobilized or activated 44 reservists in support of operations Noble Eagle, Enduring Freedom and Iraqi Freedom. 

A former shipmate of Lt. Cmdr. Brockway, Capt. Douglas Toothman, pointed out how he and the commander are both avid Cleveland Browns fans. Captain Toothman also joked that he learned quickly "it's not the right way, and it's not the wrong way. It's the Brockway.'' 

"He's handing over Youngstown at the top of their game,'' said Lt. Cmdr. Davidson, acknowledging his predecessor has left a "huge and deep impact'' after a 25-year career and as leader of the center since August 2003. 

Part of the ceremony involved gifts presented to Lt. Cmdr. Brockway, which included formal letters of commendation from President George W. Bush, former Presidents Bush, Clinton and Carter and Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld. 

A traditional shadow box was given with the U.S. Flag and his other military commendations included Brockway's second Navy Commendation Medal. 

And sailors in the unit also presented him with a bronzed plaque, wishing him "fair winds and following seas,” a phrase that represents the ideal underway conditions for which Sailors yearn.


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