Change of Command ceremony held at NAS Meridian

Published: Nov. 17, 2023 at 6:25 PM CST
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MERIDIAN, Miss. (WTOK) - Family, friends, and members of Training Squadron 9 gathered to witness the passing of a torch.

After a few words from guest speaker, Capt. Edwin R. Dupont, it was time for outgoing Commander James Anderson to say his farewells. He’s retiring with 20 years of service in the Navy.

Anderson has served as commander of VT-9, also known as ‘the Tigers’, since August 2022.

The Tigers are one of four U.S. Navy strike jet training squads. Under Anderson’s leadership, they have executed thousands of missions and completed 17,698 training flight hours in the T-45C Goshawk and guided 79 Navy and Marine Corps students to earn their Wings of Gold in the process.

The new leader is Commander Justin Estrada, who had words of thanks to share.

“I’ve got a lot of friends and a lot of family that have sacrificed a lot so I can do what I love, and their support and love for me has meant everything,” said Estrada. “And to have them here to share this experience means the world to me and it gets me all teary. I’m just thinking about what it was that they had to do to get me here and having them come down here and share it has been great.”

Estrada is familiar with NAS Meridian as he earned his designation as Naval Aviator here back in 2008. He has been executive officer with VT-9 since August 2022.