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SAN DIEGO - The Navy's air arm has a new leader Thursday, following a change-of-command ceremony at the North Island Naval Air Station.
Vice Adm. David Buss relieved Vice Adm. Allen Myers, who is moving to the Pentagon to be deputy chief of naval operations for integration of capabilities and resources.
Buss, who graduated with distinction from the United States Naval Academy in 1978, has the dual job of commander of Naval Air Forces and commander of the U.S. Pacific Fleet's naval air forces, both based at North Island.
The Lancaster, Pa., native was most recently the deputy commander of U.S. Fleet Forces in Norfolk, Va.
"I couldn't have asked for a more perfect scene -- a beautiful October day with the skyline of the city behind me and being back on the flight deck of the USS Nimitz," Buss said in his welcoming remarks.
Buss completed his initial flight training in 1979 on the A-6 Intruder. His early flying assignments included aircraft carrier-based squadron tours aboard the USS Dwight D. Eisenhower, the USS Nimitz and the USS Theodore Roosevelt.
He commanded the USS Sacramento, a combat support ship, during the opening stages of Operation Enduring Freedom following the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks. He then commanded the aircraft carrier USS John C. Stennis from 2003 to 2006 and the aircraft carrier USS Enterprise Strike Group from 2009 to 2010.
Buss also served 14 months in Baghdad as director of strategy, planning and assessment for Gens. David Petraeus and Ray Odierno.
Prior to coming to San Diego, the northern Virginia native was a director of warfare integration and an air warfare division in Washington, D.C. He also commanded Carrier Strike Group Eight, Expeditionary Strike Force 5th Fleet and the Eisenhower Carrier Strike Group during an extended deployment in support of Operations Iraqi Freedom and Enduring Freedom in 2006 and 2007.
Earlier in his career, Myers commanded Fighter Squadron 32, flying F-14 Tomcats based on the Eisenhower while deployed to Bosnia and the Persian Gulf.
"We are optimistic and I think we've turned the corner to setting up a training squadron for the new Joint Strike Fighter, designed to replace the aging FA-18," he said. "I'm also very excited to be a part of the first unmanned aerial platform for the Navy, Fire Scout."
Made by Northrop-Grumman, Fire Scout is an unmanned helicopter that will be used for intelligence surveillance.
That new program will be based at NAS North Island and arrive sometime late next year.