Navy’s Atlantic air force gets a new boss
Mark D. Faram, Navy Times
AT NAVAL STATION NORFOLK, Va. — At a Friday ceremony abbreviated by the sweltering heat, Rear Adm. Bruce “Birdy” Lindsey took over as the Atlantic fleet’s top aviator.
Vice Adm. Mike Shoemaker, the head of Naval Air Forces, presided over the ceremony and praised Lindsey and the outgoing Naval Air Force Atlantic boss, Rear Adm. John “JR” Haley.
Haley cited the successes of the Norfolk-based carrier Harry S. Truman, which recently returned from the Middle East after an eight-month deployment where the flattop smashed previous records in attacking ISIS militants.
Watching the successes of the carriers under his purview was the highlight of his time as AIRLANT, Haley said.
“If we do our job right at AIRLANT, we get to see those sailors at the tip of the spear open up a can of whoop-ass on the bad guys,” Haley said in his farewell. “Let me tell you — we love that feeling.”
Haley, retiring after a 36-year career, is a 1980 Naval Academy graduate. His aviation career started when he was first designated a naval flight officer, serving as a bombardier/navigator in the A-6E Intruder. Switching seats, he entered pilot training in 1987 and became a designated pilot in 1989, tallying up 3,500 flight hours and over 1,100 carrier arrested landings. He flew first in EA-6B Prowlers and later transitioned to the EA-18G Growlers and F/A-18E Super Hornets.
Haley also commanded two aircraft carriers, the Theodore Roosevelt and later the George Washington.
Lindsey takes over as naval aviation’s “mini-boss,” working for Shoemaker, the fleet’s top aviator after back to back tours as a strike group commander, most recently the Norfolk-based CSG 4, which trains and certifies Atlantic fleet carrier strike groups,amphibious ready groups and well as independent deploying ships.
Prior to that, he commanded CSG-4 aboard carrier Dwight D. Eisenhower. He also commanded the aircraft carrier Carl Vinson during “Operations Enduring Freedom” and “New Dawn.”
Lindsey is a 1982 academy grad. A career naval flight officer designated in 1983, he spent his flying career in S-3B Viking”squadrons. He commanded Sea Combat Squadron 29 embarked on the carrier Carl Vinson during the first 72 days of Operation Enduring Freedom.
Lindsey has served in various other leadership positions during his career.
At AIRLANT, Lindsey will be responsible for manning, equipping, and training four nuclear-powered flattops, 54 aircraft squadrons, 1,200 aircraft and 50,000 personnel.
Lindsey’s first act as AIRLANT boss was to lead three rousing cheers of “Hip hip, hooray,” for his retiring predecessor.Back to Top