By Dolly Rairigh Glass

Naval Air Support (NSA) Orlando/Naval Air Warfare Center Training Systems Division (NAWCTSD) new Commanding Officer Captain Erik “Rock” Etz, following his command pinning, wrapped up his remarks with, “Admirals – the NAWCTSD and NSA Orlando teams are ready to rock!” initiating giggles and cheers from the crowd in attendance.


Capt. Erik “Rock” Etz receives his ceremonial command pin from his wife and their two daughters.

Etz has been serving as NSA Orlando/NAWCTSD’s executive officer for the last two years and replaces Captain Wes Naylor who also retired from Navy service at the ceremony.

“I’m truly honored to lead such an amazing organization,” Etz said. “NAWCTSD has a rich heritage dating back 75 years to the earliest days of Navy modeling and simulation, and over the years, this team earned its reputation as a world-class provider of training systems.

“The professionals at NAWCTSD are among the very best in the industry and they truly are up to the task of delivering training excellence to the fleet today and well into the future. As we have for the past three-quarters of a century, our team needs to always seek out new and better ways of conducting our business.”

Vice Admiral Bill Moran, chief of naval personnel, was the guest speaker for the ceremony which had hundreds of attendees from the Navy, its sister services and industry partners from Central Florida and elsewhere.


The changing of the command: Capt. Erik Etz saluting as Capt. Wes Naylor watches. Naylor’s retirement ceremony followed the change of command.

Moran said that he was glad to be back in Orlando to spend some time with a great team, and conduct what is a traditional change of command, and also the retirement of a great Navy family. “NAWCTSD is an incredibly talented and innovative team, and Erik absolutely possesses the pedigree to lead this command,” Moran said.

Etz said that improving the way NAWCTSD operates as a team to more effectively serve the Navy fleet is his driving priority. He noted that they will follow the lead of NAVAIR, and continue to align their resources to improve their effectiveness, and actively pursue opportunities to reduce cost and increase the speed of capability delivery to the fleet.

“We have a number of ongoing initiatives that target our own internal processes, in an effort to create capacity for new work by streamlining our acquisition efforts, Etz explained. “By supporting fleet training needs across all Navy warfighting areas, we are uniquely positioned to leverage technology across multiple platforms.”

He continued, “We will use that insight to look for opportunities to horizontally flow capability across platforms, and pursue distributed training results that yield a virtual environment where interconnected training devices provide the fleet with the opportunity to train like we fight.”

Etz has logged over 3,500 flight hours in over 35 types of aircraft, including over 2,950 F/A-18 hours and over 840 carrier landings on 14 different aircraft carriers. Read more about Capt. Etz here.

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