By Captain Wes Naylor
Commanding Officer, Naval Air Warfare Center Training Systems Division

NAYLOR-FRANK-NAVY-WI believe that we are fortunate to have the opportunity to take the time to mark the ceremonies that are rich in tradition like the change of command that the Naval Air Warfare Center Training Systems Division (NAWCTSD) and Naval Support Activity (NSA) Orlando executed on June 20. It allows us to break from our normal routine and take a few minutes to reflect on where we’ve been and where the road ahead is taking us. Perhaps, more importantly, it offers us the opportunity to re-connect with our community, service, and corporate partners to ensure we are best aligned in our expectations about how we can most effectively work together to ensure that the needs of our Warfighters are being met.

At the end of the day, the work we the members of Team Orlando do here together, serves one purpose and one purpose only — to ensure that those Warfighters who enter the arena in defense of our country are properly trained and prepared to execute the missions that they are tasked with. If we do our part right, this nation’s sons and daughters will be able to take care of our country and then return home alive and able to take care of their families after fulfilling their military commitments. This is a sacred trust that has been placed with us. It is a sacred trust that Team Orlando has upheld in the past, and I am sure that it is a sacred trust that we will uphold going forward — all of us together — government, community and industry.

It is often said that a leader is not necessarily defined by his plans, but more often defined by the circumstances he is presented with. My predecessor, Capt. Steve Nakagawa was tested and defined by the most challenging array of circumstances that any NAWCTSD Commanding Officer has had to face. Unprecedented budgetary pressures, sequestration, furlough, government shutdowns, the list goes on and on. It was certainly the most unique set of challenges that has had to be faced by this organization in a long time. To his great credit, the NAWCTSD team engaged all of these challenges in a manner that put both the Warfighter and our team at the front of the line in any decision that had to be made. The command weathered these storms and we are looking forward to the mission ahead.

To our friends, family, and partners here in the Central Florida region, a truly heartfelt thank you for embracing my family and me, and allowing us to become a part of this community. We have never been anywhere that we have felt as welcomed by the community in our time together as a family. I remarked to Jacob Stewart recently at a meeting of the Central Florida Partnership that what I found remarkable about Orlando is, that if you come here and are willing to give of your time and talents, that the community is willing to take you in and let you contribute to make our community a better place. That is certainly not always the case, and it’s just a small part of what makes the Central Florida region the tremendous place that it is. So to our friends in Team Orlando, at the Central Florida Partnership, in Leadership Orlando, at Rollins College and UCF, the Florida High Tech Corridor Council, our many STEM partners, and all of our other community partners, thank you for letting us be a part of what you do, we’re excited at the opportunities ahead.

In that vein, I am extremely pleased to be joined by NAWCTSD’s new Executive Officer, Capt. Erik “Rock” Etz. He and his family are now a part of this community, they are a tremendous addition to the team and I look forward to the next two years and beyond.

To the men and women of NAWCTSD, it is my honor to have the opportunity to serve you over the coming years. In my mind, leadership is all about service to the team and service to the Warfighter. You have my word as my bond that I will work tirelessly to empower you to execute the visions of Chief of Naval Operations, Adm. Jonathan W. Greenert and NAVAIR Commander, Vice Adm. Dunaway to meet the need of our Warfighters.

There is something very special about the people at NAWCTSD, and maybe it has something to do with the fact that the team is comprised of Central Floridians who have continually proven that anything is possible. Whether it was turning an orange grove in to the entertainment center of the world, realizing the impossible vision of putting a man on the moon, or revolutionizing the way we train our Sailors, Soldiers, Marines, and Airmen, the people of this region have always made the impossible possible.

The future is in your hands. That future will require us to re-examine and re-think how we work, partner, and deliver the products that our Warfighters need to ensure this country’s security. That future includes great opportunities in the fields of live-virtual-constructive (LVC) training, Intelligent Tutoring, and training for the emerging field of Cyber-Warfare. The challenges of the future are great. In spite of the magnitude of those challenges, I have no doubt that you are up to task at hand and that together we — government, industry, and academia — will deliver on those visions.

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