Blue Angels, service members welcome new U.S. Navy 'Air Boss' in Coronado

Posted at 5:25 PM, Jan 11, 2018
and last updated 2018-01-11 20:25:55-05

CORONADO, Calif. (KGTV) - It's a ceremony designed to impress.

High powered aircraft flanked a large hangar at Naval Base Coronado - with a special appearance by the high-flying Blue Angels.

In a changing of the guard ceremony, outgoing "Air Boss" Vice Admiral Mike Shoemaker welcomed incoming boss Vice Admiral DeWolfe Miller. After 35 years in the Navy, Shoemaker is retiring.

RELATED: Navy's Blue Angels flying team begins training in El Centro

"I'm extremely confident our sailors and airmen and their families will be in good hands and you continue to ensure we will be preeminent fighting forece in the nation, congratulations my friend," Shoemaker said.

Miller's first word to the audience: "Cool."

Miller graduated from the US Naval Academy in 1981, going on to serve as the commanding officer of the USS George H.W. Bush air craft carrier, and most recently, the director of Air Warfare.

But this, Miller said, is the first time he's ever been stationed in San Diego.

"We saved the best for last," Miller said.

Miller will inherit the implementation of the F-35C's - the controversial new generation of fighter jets, criticized for their ballooning costs. 

"We're bringing the F-35 which stands right behind us, our very first squadron transitions this month, transitions this month and is doing the transition this January," Miller said.

But the much-needed planes, he hopes, will also become a factor in their effort to retain pilots.

"We do a great job of retaining and what were going to continue to do is look a the compensation packages of our pilots and air crew to incentivize the behavior that we need to keep the talent that we need," Miller said.

As for his new role, Miller plans to jump right in, using his decades of experience to guide him.

"It makes me feel great about our country, makes me feel great about our those that serve, and makes me feel great about those that serve and makes me feel great about our future," said Miller.