Cmdr. Kenneth P. Ward relieved Cmdr. Lonnie L. Appleget as commanding officer of the “Saberhawks” of Helicopter Maritime Strike Squadron (HSM) 77 during an airborne change of command ceremony with the Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS George Washington (CVN 73), July 4.
Appleget, a plankowner of George Washington, completed his command tour not only on the ship’s 23rd anniversary, but also on Independence Day. Upon returning to the U.S. from his present duty station in Atsugi, Japan, Appleget will attend the Dwight D. Eisenhower School at the National Defense University in Washington, D.C., where he will earn a graduate degree in national resource strategy.
Ward’s command tour is just the latest in a long career as a naval officer. He served with the “Vipers” of Helicopter Anti-Submarine Squadron Light (HSL) 48 in support of counter narcotics operations embarked on USS Mcinerney (FFG 8), participated in both Operation Enduring Freedom and Operation Iraqi Freedom embarked on USS San Jacinto (CG 56), forward deployed to Sasebo, Japan on USS Juneau (LPD 10) as the Air Officer and forward deployed as the maintenance officer to the “Warlords” of Helicopter Anti-Submarine Squadron Light (HSL) 51 in Atsugi, Japan, as well as HSL 51 Detachment Four officer in charge embarked on USS Shiloh (CG 67). He has more than 2,400 flight hours and approximately 1,700 shipboard landings.
The Saberhawks are one of the eight CVW-5 squadrons embarked aboard George Washington and are on patrol in the 7th fleet area of responsibility supporting security and stability in the Indo-Asia-Pacific region.
Image: US Navy