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Burfield Takes Charge of NAS Pax River at Change of Command Ceremony

11 January 2024

From Patrick Gordon, NAS Patuxent River Public Affairs Officer

Naval Air Station Patuxent River held a ceremony Jan. 10 in which Capt. Douglas Burfield assumed command of the installation from outgoing Commanding Officer Capt. Derrick Kingsley.
Naval Air Station Patuxent River held a ceremony Jan. 10 in which Capt. Douglas Burfield assumed command of the installation from outgoing Commanding Officer Capt. Derrick Kingsley.
 
Burfield’s role as NAS Patuxent River commanding officer follows his previous position as the base executive officer, which he he took on in June 2022 falls under the Navy’s Fleet-Up program. In that program, executive officers serve in that position for approximately a year and a half before they “fleet up” to become the commanding officer for their command tour on the same ship or station. This practice provides focused command leadership stability throughout a base’s life, according to OPNAVINST 1412.14. Commanding officers reap the benefits of the actions and policies they institute as executive officer.
 
A native of St. Marys, Pennsylvania, Burfield earned his commission in 1998 from the United States Naval Academy. After flight school and winging in 2000, he was assigned to Helicopter Combat Support Squadron Six (HC-6) and deployed with H-46D detachments aboard USS Arctic (AOE 8) and USS Mount Whitney (LCC 20).  Following a shore assignment with Joint Staff J2, Deputy Directorate for Targets, he served as USS Wasp (LHD 1) Hangar Officer, Mini Boss and Officer of the Deck Underway.  After transitioning to the MH-60S helicopter in 2008, he joined Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron Two Eight (HSC-28) as Detachment Officer in Charge aboard USS Wasp and USS Nassau (LHA 4) as well as Operations Officer. Burfield was then assigned to the Office of the Chief of Naval Operations, Strategy and Plans Division (OPNAV N3/N5) as Special Technical Operations Officer before reporting to Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron Five (HSC-5) “Night Dippers” in 2015. As Executive Officer of the “Night Dippers,” he deployed with Carrier Air Wing Seven aboard USS Harry S. Truman (CVN 75). He later served as Commanding Officer of HSC-5 until 2017 when he joined Carrier Strike Group FOUR as Assistant Chief of Staff for Training and Assessments to assist with deployment certification exercises. 
 
In his new role as commanding officer, Burfield said he would continue to build on the foundations of leadership laid by his predecessor and provide the best service possible to Pax River’s mission partners thanks to the teamwork exemplified by those on “Team Pax.”
 
“To the Pax Professionals, I offer my heartfelt gratitude for everything you’ve done already over my year-and-a-half here as XO,” said Burfield. “Our mission continues – to provide the finest support to our mission partners across three bases. Our goal is to be the finest base in the Navy, to provide a safe and secure environment from which to launch operational capabilities, as well as the best vital Research, Development, Test, and Evaluation for the future of Naval Aviation. It’s our teamwork, along with our professionalism and enthusiasm, that will set us apart as the premier Naval installation.”
 
The ceremony not only served as a change of command for NAS Patuxent River, but also as a reflection of outgoing commanding officer Kingsley’s total career as he retires after 27 years of naval service.
 
During the change of command ceremony, officiating officer Rear Adm. Nancy Lacore, Commandant, Naval District Washington, highlighted Kingsley’s abilities while in the unique position of leadership at NAS Patuxent River.
 
“The diversity and prominence of today’s gathering is really a testament to the relationships that [Kingsley] forged during his time here, both inside and outside the fence line, and he makes it clear that he lives up to his reputation as a collaborative leader and a true partner,” said Lacore. “A strategic asset, a hub of innovation and excellence, Pax River’s contributions are vital to Naval Aviation, particularly in developing and testing cutting edge technology and advanced tactical approaches. Leading such a significant installation is a big responsibility, one that DK embraced and executed with a remarkable skill and dedication.”
 
Lacore then cited Kingsley for his specific achievements as NAS Patuxent River commanding officer and presented him with the Legion of Merit for his efforts.
 
“Captain Kingsley’s superior leadership enhanced Naval Aviation’s premier Research, Development, Acquisition, Test, and Evaluation facility,” stated Kingsley’s citation . “Through robust community partnerships and extraordinary vision, he led efforts to mitigate encroachment, enhance safety, and ensure physical security for the installation’s three fence lines and over 25,000 personnel. His preemptive engagement enabled tenant commands to safely conduct 218,345 manned and unmanned flight operations and other aviation test and evaluation missions valued at more than $3 billion. The overarching success of his Readiness and Environmental Protection Integration program resulted in a $3.3 million award for shoreline resiliency. Captain Kingsley set the conditions for the most successful Explosive Safety Inspection in the Installation’s history, renewed the base’s Intergovernmental Support Agreement with St. Mary’s County, and the base’s selection for the 2022 Naval District Washington Installation Excellence Award. His actions fostered a culture of excellence and were the culmination of a 27-year career of honorable and dedicated military service.”
 
In his own remarks to the command, Kingsley thanked those who made his entire career memorable, and summed up his career and time at Pax.
 
“I’ve always had a passion to serve, and this kid who wanted to be a firefighter, then a soldier, and then an Air Force pilot, somehow ended up in the Navy – and I’ve had a pretty fun time; I’d do it again tomorrow,” said Kingsley. “And Team Pax, while the Naval Academy is where I started, I chose to come here to be with you for the final curtain. I wanted to personally look across this group and say ‘thank you.’ Thank you for what you have done and what you will do beyond this day, this tour, and your careers. I stand in awe of your accomplishments, and I consider each and every one of you family.”
 
Naval Air Station Patuxent River, Maryland, was born of the Navy’s need to consolidate various aircraft test and evaluation efforts into one centralized location. NAS Patuxent River was commissioned April 1, 1943, and has since evolved into the Center of Excellence for Naval Aviation — where the future of Naval Aviation and our technological advantage begins. As the host to 64 Mission Partners, including the Naval Air Systems Command and the Naval Air Warfare Center Aircraft Division, Pax River conducts the full spectrum of Research, Development, Test, and Evaluation, acquisition, sustainment, and lifecycle management for all Naval and Marine Corps aircraft, their weapons systems, and support equipment.
 

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