Naval Air Station Whidbey Island, Washington (NNS) The “Cougars” of Electronic Attack Squadron (VAQ) 139 held a change of command ceremony aboard the aircraft carrier USS Theodore Roosevelt (CVN 71) in San Diego, October 5.
Cmdr. Ladislao Montero, from Tucson, Ariz., relieved Cmdr. David Skarosi, from Chicago, as commanding officer of the VAQ-139. Capt. Robert Loughran, Deputy Commander of Carrier Air Wing (CVW) 17 presided over the transfer of command.
Skarosi led the Cougars through a notable work-up cycle. In 2016 they totaled 1014 sorties, flying 1478.5 mishap free hours, completing 120 Growler Weapons and Tactics Program events and becoming again the recipients of the Navy’s Aviation Battle Efficiency Award (Battle “E”) for Pacific Fleet embarked Electronic Attack Squadrons. The Cougars were also awarded with the Association of Old Crows Outstanding Naval Unit Award for Electronic Warfare, CNAF Blue ‘M’, Command Pacific Fleet (COMPACFLT) Retention Excellence Award, as well as the Navy Surgeon General’s medical readiness Blue “H” awards.
Skarosi has totaled over 2819 flight hours and 437 arrested landings during the course of his career in the EA-6B and EA-18G as a pilot and naval flight officer.
Upon reflection of his career and time in command Skarosi said, “I’m the most blessed man you know! The Navy and its people have made me a better person. I am truly thankful to all Cougars, past and present, for all that they did and all they will continue to do!”
Upon detaching from VAQ-139, Skarosi will report to Headquarters, United States European Command in Stuttgart, Germany.
Montero has seen over 2,500 flight hours and has accumulated over 500 carrier arrested landings as a Naval Flight Officer in the S-3B, EA-6B, and EA-18G. He enlisted in the U.S. Navy in 1988. After his enlistment he earned his commission in 1999, and his Naval Flight Officer Wings of Gold in 2001.
Montero has participated in multiple deployments supporting Operations Southern Watch, Iraqi Freedom, and Enduring Freedom. He transitioned to the EA-18G Growler after completion of his joint tour at NATO Combined Air Operations Center Torrejon in Madrid, Spain in 2015; and reported aboard VAQ-139 as Executive Officer in July 2016.
VAQ-139 over the past year has completed detachments to Nellis Air Force Base, Las Vegas, Nevada, Naval Air Station Fallon, Nevada, Naval Air Station Lemoore, and the USS Theodore Roosevelt in preparation for their upcoming deployment in Fall 2017 with CVW-17.