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NAS Jacksonville has new commander for aviation squadron

Published on June 20, 2023 at 2:49 pm

The U.S. Navy’s largest aviation squadron has a new man at the helm as Capt. Derrick W. Eastman took command Tuesday of Patrol Squadron 30 at Naval Air Station Jacksonville.

Eastman became the 46th commanding officer of what’s nicknamed the “Pro’s Nest,” taking over from Capt. Jonathan E. Spore, who assumed command of VP-30 in May 2021.

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Speaking before more than 400 Navy members and veterans, plus family and friends at the ceremony, Eastman takes command of the Maritime Patrol and Reconnaissance Fleet Replacement Squadron at the Westside Jacksonville base.

“I am in awe at the fantastic collaboration across this staff, in our simulators and classrooms, and in the air aboard that beautiful P-8A Poseidon aircraft,” he said, according to a news release. “I can attest that we may all be proud of the efforts VP-30 puts forth to effectively train aircrews which are ready to execute the mission anywhere and at any time.”

A native of Phoenix, Eastman joined the Navy in 1989 and deployed twice aboard the USS Nimitz with Strike Fighter Squadron 146. He became a naval flight officer after completing undergraduate studies at San Diego State University and also holds master’s degrees from Norwich University and the Air War College, the Navy said.

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Eastman’s career includes deployments around the world, including a department head tour with VP-5, and command of VP-46 in Whidbey Island, Washington. He also served at Bagram Airfield in Afghanistan, as well as Task Force 57 in Bahrain and Task Force 72 in Japan.

Rear Adm. Adam Kijek, commander of the Patrol and Reconnaissance Group, presided over the ceremony, calling VP-30 “the gateway to the fleet and the gateway to the future.” He also presented Spore with the Legion of Merit medal.

Under Spore’s leadership, VP-30 was awarded the 2022 Commander Theodore G. Ellyson Award for Aviation Production Excellence, plus major maintenance and aviation safety awards.

“During my career, I have had the opportunity to work with an incredible group of all-stars,” Spore said. “I am filled with immense gratitude for those who have supported me along the way and for those I’ve had the pleasure of serving with. I am extremely proud of all we have been able to accomplish.”

VP-30 provides P-8A Poseidon maritime patrol aircraft and MQ-4C Unmanned Aerial System drone training to pilots, naval flight officers and enlisted aircrew prior to reporting to the fleet.

This year, VP-30 is completing the transition of 12 active-component squadrons and two reserve component squadrons with more than 5,000 aviators and maintenance staff from the P-3C Orion aircraft to the P-8A Poseidon.


author image Reporter, WJCT News 89.9 Dan Scanlan is a veteran journalist with almost 40 years of experience in radio, television, and print reporting. He has worked at various stations in the Northeast and Jacksonville. Prior to joining the WJCT News team, Dan spent 34 years at The Florida Times-Union as a police and current affairs reporter.
author image Reporter, WJCT News 89.9 Dan Scanlan is a veteran journalist with almost 40 years of experience in radio, television, and print reporting. He has worked at various stations in the Northeast and Jacksonville. Prior to joining the WJCT News team, Dan spent 34 years at The Florida Times-Union as a police and current affairs reporter.

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