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New Dealer for 'Black Aces'

Navy NewsStand

Story Number: NNS091029-10
Release Date: 10/29/2009 2:35:00 PM

From Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class J.D. Levite, USS Nimitz Public Affairs

USS NIMITZ, At Sea (NNS) -- Strike Fighter Squadron (VFA) 41 the "Black Aces" held a change of command ceremony in the hangar bay aboard aircraft carrier USS Nimitz (CVN 68) Oct. 23.

Cmdr. Markus Gudmundsson relieved Cmdr. Robert Osterhoudt as commanding officer.

Two Sailors ceremoniously re-designated Fast Eagle 101, the commanding officer's F/A-18F Super Hornet,

"Your people, your team, perform brilliantly every day, and I can't imagine a better example to follow," said Gudmundsson said of Osterhoudt's leadership. "I will strive daily to equal the example you've set."

Capt. Bret Batchelder, commander, Carrier Air Wing 11, commented on the example Osterhoudt set for his Sailors.

"This squadron is a direct reflection of you," Batchelder said. "Your legacy will be esteemed professionalism, unbending integrity and a squadron that is held to the highest standards in the United States Navy."

As a pilot and naval officer for more than 20 years, Batchelder has seen multiple commands and multiple squadrons.

"You have earned an excellent opportunity here," Batchelder said to Gudmundsson. "The opportunity to lead these Sailors and this aircrew is amazing. The magnitude of this chance, the accountability and the responsibility that go with it – there's nothing like it in the world. I congratulate you, and I envy you."

Before Gudmundsson could officially take command however, Osterhoudt gave his final speech as the commanding officer.

"This squadron has so much heart, personality and character," said Osterhoudt. "I am more complete for experiencing that. I will stand in awe of your professionalism, commitment and courage for the rest of my life. Goodbye Black Aces. There is magic in all you do, and that truly comes from my heart."

Gudmundsson acknowledged the sacrifice his Sailors make while deployed with the squadron.

"Freedom has a flavor the protected will never know," he said. "I think it tastes like JP-5."

The Nimitz Carrier Strike Group (CSG) is on a routine deployment to the region. Operations in the U.S. 5th Fleet Area of Operations are focused on reassuring regional partners of the United States' commitment to security, which promotes stability and global prosperity.

Nimitz CSG, commanded by Rear Adm. John W. Miller, is comprised of USS Nimitz, embarked Carrier Air Wing 11, embarked Destroyer Squadron (DESRON) 23, and the Ticonderoga-class cruiser USS Chosin (CG 65). Ships assigned to DESRON 23 include the destroyers USS Pinckney (DDG 91), USS Sampson (DDG 102) and the frigate USS Rentz (FFG 46).

Squadrons from CVW 11 include the "Black Aces" of VFA 41, the "Tophatters" of VFA 14, the "Warhawks" of VFA 97, the "Sidewinders" of VFA 86, the "Indians" of Helicopter Anti-Submarine Squadron 6, the "Black Ravens" of Electronic Attack Squadron 135, the "Providers" of Fleet Logistics Support Squadron 30 and the "Wallbangers" of Carrier Airborne Command and Control Squadron 117.

Helicopter detachments include the "Easy Riders" of Helicopter Anti-submarine Squadron Light (HSL) 37, the "Battle Cats" of HSL 43, the "Wolfpack" of HSL 45, the "Scorpions" of HSL 49 and the "Wildcards" of Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron 23. Also accompanying the Nimitz CSG are Explosive Ordnance Disposal Mobile Unit 11 and USNS Bridge (T-AOE 10).

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