October 4, 2023

Cordell Heads NTWA

Naval Test Wing Atlantic Command Senior Chief Timothy McKinley, left, hands the organizational flag to the wing's new commander Marine Col. Roger Cordell during a change of command and retirement ceremony Dec. 21 at Naval Air Systems Command at Patuxent River, Md. Cordell replaced Navy Capt. Thomas Huff, who retired. (U.S. Navy photo by Liz Wolter)

Punctuated with 15 booming volleys from a cannon and a moving saxophonist’s anthem, Marine Corps Col. Roger Cordell replaced Navy Capt. Thomas Huff as commander of Naval Test Wing Atlantic in a change of command and retirement ceremony at the Naval Test Pilot School’s hangar here Dec. 21.

“The world of flight testing is hard and unforgiving “¦ the fiscal landscape is a challenge, but developmental testing is critical to our brothers and sisters in arms,” said Cordell as he accepted the reins of leadership from Huff, who retired after nearly 27 years of military service. “I’m taking command of a wing postured for success. I look forward to working with you.”

Born and raised in Lafayette, La., Cordell has more than 20 years of naval aviation experience, with many of his assignments served here at Patuxent River.

Those assignments include a yearlong stint as director of training and evaluation for F-35 Naval Variants on the Joint Strike Fighter program; a 2007 to 2010 appointment as executive and commanding officer of the Naval Test Pilot School (TPS); beginning in 2005, two years as the executive officer in the Marine Aviation Detachment; and, after graduation from TPS, he transferred to Air Test and Evaluation Squadron 23, where he was the Marine Corps’ developmental test representative, responsible for selection of the first digital flight control strategy for implementation in a short-takeoff, vertical-landing aircraft as well as the test representative in all other aspects of F-35 design, ranging from mission systems to aircraft survivability.

Vice Adm. David Architzel, who leads the Naval Air Systems Command and was the ceremony’s guest speaker, called departing commander Huff an inspirational leader, saying he had not only “influenced the future but also the here and now.”

“Captain Huff is a results-focused Navy leader,” said Architzel. “Over his nearly three-decade career, he has done it all.”

Huff, who used the ceremony as a platform to acknowledge those who had supported him personally and professionally, said the “Naval Test Wing Atlantic is shifting into capable hands.”

A decorated pilot with more than 4,800 tactical jet flight hours and 600 carrier landings, Huff’s previous assignments include serving as chief of staff for Program Executive Officer, Unmanned Aviation and Strike Weapons; Class Desk systems engineer for the F/A-18 program; and commander of the Naval Test Pilot School.

Naval Test Wing Atlantic supports the development and acquisition of naval aeronautical and related technology systems. The predominance of the active-duty military personnel in the test and evaluation group are assigned to the wing, and see themselves as advocates for the fleet, with a continual focus on their warfighting requirements. The wing is composed of the following four squadrons: Naval STRIKE Aircraft Test Squadron; Naval Rotary Wing Aircraft Test Squadron; Naval Force Aircraft Test Squadron; and the U.S. Naval Test Pilot School.

Source: NAWCAD Public Affairs

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