By Rob Koon, NAVAIR Public Affairs
PATUXENT RIVER, Md. - Vice Admiral David Venlet assumed command of the Naval Air Systems Command from Vice Adm. Walter Massenburg in a ceremony here today.
Admiral Mike Mullen, the Chief of Naval Operations, presided over the ceremony. Assistant Secretary of the Navy for Research, Development and Acquisition, Dr. Delores Etter also attended.
Before assuming command of NAVAIR, Venlet served as Program Executive Officer, Tactical Air Programs. He commanded Naval Air Warfare Center, Weapons Division with responsibility for Navy weapons and systems research, development, testing and evaluation, and fleet support capabilities at China Lake and Point Mugu, Calif. He also served as NAVAIR assistant commander for test and evaluation and for shore installation management.
Fleet tours include Fighter Squadron 41 as an F-14 Tomcat radar intercept officer deployed on the USS Nimitz. He wears the Distinguished Flying Cross for action in VF-41. After redesignation as a Naval Aviator, he flew with VF-143 as an F-14 pilot deployed on the USS Dwight D. Eisenhower. He next served in Fleet Replacement Squadron VF-101 at Naval Air Station Oceana as a Tomcat instructor pilot and A-4 Skyhawk adversary pilot.
Venlet served as a test pilot at Naval Air Test Center here where he performed the first carrier landing of the T-45 Goshawk training aircraft on the USS John F Kennedy. He is a member of the Society of Experimental Test Pilots.
Tours at NAVAIR include the F/A-18 Hornet program office in various capacities including assistant program manager for systems engineering and deputy program manager. He was executive assistant to the NAVAIR commander and served as the program manager for the AIM-9X Sidewinder development program.
Venlet is from Pottstown, Pa., and is a 1976 graduate of the U.S. Naval Academy. He is also a graduate of the Naval Postgraduate School and U.S. Naval Test Pilot School. He has a Bachelor of Science degree in Systems Engineering and Masters of Science degree in Aerospace Engineering.