VIRGINIA BEACH, Va.
Capt. John Hewitt, Naval Air Station Oceana executive officer, relieved Capt. Chad Vincelette, commanding officer, Sept. 21 during an in-flight ceremony at the 2019 NAS Oceana Air Show.
Making history as one of the highest-attended change of command ceremonies, Hewitt relieved Vincelette in front of over 149,000 guests.
Hewitt, a native of Smithtown, New York, became the 46th Commanding Officer of NAS Oceana.
Hewitt enlisted in the United States Navy in 1987 and deployed aboard USS INDEPENDENCE (CV 62) and USS FORRESTAL (CV 59) as an Aviation Boatswain’s Mate (Launch & Recovery). He received his commission in 1995 through the Naval Reserve Officers Training Corps Program and was designated an E-2C Hawkeye Naval Flight Officer in 1997.
At sea, he has served with the VAW-117 Wallbangers, Commander, Cruiser Destroyer Group TWO, the VAW-112 Golden Hawks, and was the Executive and Commanding Officer of the VAW-126 Seahawks where he saw the squadron awarded the 2013 Commander, Naval Air Forces Atlantic Battle Efficiency Award. Hewitt also commanded the E-2 and C-2A Fleet Replacement Squadron – the VAW-120 Greyhawks.
Hewitt has deployed worldwide aboard numerous aircraft carriers and supported Operations Southern Watch, Desert Fox, Enduring Freedom, and Iraqi Freedom.
Ashore he has served with VAW-120 as a Fleet Replacement Squadron Instructor, with U.S. Joint Forces Command at the Joint Deployment Training Center, and with the Joint Staff, J-7 Deployable Training Division.
Hewitt graduated with distinction from New York Maritime College with a Bachelor of Science Degree in Marine Business and Commerce and earned a U.S. Merchant Marine Third Officer’s License. He is a graduate of both the United States Naval War College where he earned a Master of Arts Degree in National Security and Strategic Studies and the Joint Forces Staff College.
Hewitt has accumulated 2,500 flight hours, 450 arrested landings, and 62 combat missions in the E-2 Hawkeye. He is a Joint Qualified Officer and a graduate of the E-2 Weapons School. He most recently held the position of executive officer of NAS Oceana.
Vincelette, a native of Virginia Beach, Va., became the 45th commanding officer of NAS Oceana on March 9, 2018, after serving as the executive officer for 18 months.
Vincelette, entered the Navy in 1993 after graduating from the University of Virginia. Vincelette received his wings in 1996. He spent the last 21 years serving in a variety of roles. His operational assignments include the Diamondbacks of Fighter Squadron (VF) 102, and an assignment to Black Knights of VF-154, where he deployed for commencement of Operation Iraqi Freedom. He served as executive officer and commanding officer of the Swordsmen of VFA-32. His shore assignments included instructor duty at Strike Fighter Weapons School Atlantic (SFWSL) after attending the U.S. Navy Fighter Weapons School (Top Gun), flag aide to Commander U.S. Fleet Forces, and action officer at the NATO Headquarters, Supreme Allied Commander, Transformation (SACT). He accumulated over 3000 flight hours and 600 carrier arrested landings. He enjoyed the honor of commanding NAS Oceana during its 75th Anniversary celebration in 2018.
Vincelette will be retiring after 26 years of serving his country in the U.S. Navy.
Naval Air Station Oceana is the Navy’s East Coast Master Jet Base, home to F/A-18 Super Hornets. The primary mission of the Naval Air Station Oceana is as a Shore-Based Readiness Integrator, providing the facilities, equipment and personnel to support shored-based readiness, total force readiness and maintain operational access of Oceana-based forces.