China Lake's military leadership has not been limited to its
commanders over its 50+ years--the Navy and Marine Corps officers, the
Chiefs, and the enlisted members have all made significant
contributions to the success of the Lake's RDT&E programs--but by Navy
law and tradition, the entire responsibility for the Command rests
squarely upon the shoulders of one man: "The Skipper."
Taking the helm at China Lake has been a unique and sometimes
frustrating challenge for the men who've done so--it's been described
as "stepping into the 'Twilight Zone'" by more than one of those who
came from the Fleet to the desert to serve as Commander of a mixed bag
of military members, overseer of thousands of civilian scientists and
specialists, custodian of over a million acres af land and hundreds of
high-tech facilities, and de facto mayor of a small city.
There was the challenge, too, of forming a productive, synergistic
partnership with the civilian leader, the Technical Director. The
relationship between the Commander and the Technical Director--between
the operational and technical communities--is a most essential aspect
of the laboratory's institutional and emotional health. Some CO-TD
partnerships were better than others, and many were amazingly good.
For the most part, the military-civilian/Fleet-laboratory team formed
by Captain Burroughs and Dr. Thompson has endured war, peace, and
reorganization to stand as a foundation upon which China Lake's
successes were built.
"Ev" Burroughs was one of those most responsible for "The China Lake Way"
"P. D." Stroop championed Sidewinder as Chief of the Bureau of Naval Weapons
Dick Ashworth, Weaponeer on the Nagasaki drop, was first to "market" NOTS
Bill Moran's combat experience prompted the development of Shrike
Will Haff led the early '80s revitalization of NWC's RDT&E program
Jim "Spurt" Seaman championed the China Lake Museum and dealt with the
effects of "9-11"
COMMANDERS* OF THE
NAVAL ORDNANCE TEST STATION,
NAVAL WEAPONS CENTER,
China Lake's Commanders have generally been combat-seasoned aviators,
and by and large members of the attack community; most have been Naval
Academy graduates with an education in the sciences and engineering.
Several Commanders had previous tours at China Lake in the
Experimental/Technical Officer's group.
Capt. Sherman E. Burroughs [RAdm.]**
Capt. James B. Sykes [RAdm.]
RAdm. W.G. Switzer
Capt. Walter V.R. Vieweg [RAdm.]
Capt. Paul D. Stroop [VAdm.]
Capt. R.H. Solier
Capt. David B. Young
Capt. Robert F. Sellars
Capt. Frederick L. Ashworth [VAdm.]
Capt. William W. Hollister
Capt. Charles Blenman, Jr.
Capt. Leon Grabowsky
Capt. John I. Hardy
Capt. Grady H. Lowe
Capt. Melvin R. Etheridge
RAdm. William J. Moran [VAdm.]
RAdm. Henry Suerstedt, Jr.
RAdm. Paul E. Pugh
RAdm. Rowland G. Freeman III
Capt. Frederick H.M. Kinley
RAdm. William L. Harris
Capt. William B. Haff
Capt. John Jude Lahr
Capt. Kenneth A. Dickerson
Capt. John W. Patterson
Capt. John A. Burt
Capt. Douglas W. Cook
On 22 January 1992, the Naval Air Warfare Center Weapons Division was
created from NWC China Lake and three T&E activities; base- and
military-support functions were consolidated in the Naval Air Weapons
Commander, Naval Air Warfare Center Weapons Division
RAdm. W.E. Newman
RAdm. Dana B. McKinney
RAdm. Jack V. Chenevey [RAdm.]
RAdm. Rand H. Fisher [RAdm.]
RDML Charles H. Johnston [RAdm.]***
RDML Michael C. Bachmann [RAdm.]
RDML David Venlet
RDML [sel.] Mark Skinner
Commanding Officer, Naval Air Weapons Station China Lake
Capt. Billy J. Craig
Capt. Charles A. Stevenson
Capt. Stanley W. Douglass
Capt. John D. Langford, Jr.
Capt. James R. Seaman, Jr.
Capt. Alexander B. Hnarakis
Capt. Mark G. Storch
*Designation officially changed from Commanding Officer to Commander
13 October 1948.
**Later/final ranks in brackets throughout.
***The designator for Rear Admiral (Lower Half) was officially changed
in May 1998 to RDML.
Wed Nov 3 13:46:20 PST 2004