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Captain Perkins flies the nest, welcomes Captain Lee

Naval Air Facility El Centro hosted its 2022 Change of Command and Retirement Ceremony this week, where Captain William A. Perkins passed authority to Captain Michael Lee. The Change of Command ceremony guarantees that all hands personally witness the passing of authority between officers who are duly authorized to hold command.

Captain Perkins addressed several individuals in his speech prior to passing the authority as Captain over, including his wife, family, friends, and connections made during his time as NAF El Centro’s Captain.

“The single most important thing to me during my time as Commander of the Pearl was the (Naval) Base relationship with the Valley. I’m so thankful to have met so many friends … learning the Valley, listening to your challenges, watching how you address them, has shown me ways that you work together on any areas of mutual interest,” Captain Perkins said.

The Imperial Valley Regional Chamber of Commerce was honored to attend such a momentous event in NAFEC’s history and humbled by his recognition of the Regional Chamber.

“I was honored to be a guest speaker at many of their events, but I was truly touched to be named an honorary member of many of our local organizations, including two different rotary clubs, the (Imperial Valley) Regional Chamber of Commerce … These are relationships I will cherish forever as I turn over the helm and ride, sail, fly off into the sunset,” said Captain Perkins.

The Regional Chamber has very much enjoyed the opportunities we have had to get to know Captain Perkins and his wife at both NAFEC events as well as our own events including our Regional Mixers and the Air Show Gala. We wish Captain Perkins, his wife, and their wonderful pups a happy retirement!

As we move forward into the future, the Chamber looks forward to continuing a relationship with NAFEC and starting a new one with Captain Lee. Congratulations to Captain Lee and his family on this new endeavor.

Below is Captain Lee’s bio, provided by NAFEC:

Captain Lee, a native of Honolulu, Hawaii, graduated from the U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis, Maryland with a Bachelor of Science in Political Science in 1997. He was commissioned as an ensign and later earned his designation as a naval aviator in 1999.

His operational assignments include flying the LAMPS MK III SH-60B Seahawk helicopter with Helicopter Anti-Submarine Squadron Light (HSL) 47, Naval Air Station North Island, San Diego, California, during which he deployed aboard USS Antietam (CG 54) and twice aboard USS John Young (DD 973). He was selected as aide-de-camp to Expeditionary Strike Group (ESG) 2, forward deployed to Bahrain as Expeditionary Force/Contingency Force (TF) 59 and Combined Task Force 158. Later, he reported to HSL-49 and served as officer in charge of Detachment 3 aboard USS Jarrett (FFG 33) conducting counter-illicit trafficking operations in support of U.S. Naval Forces Southern Command. Post-deployment he served as operations officer for HSL-49.

Most recently he was the air boss aboard USS Essex (LHD 2), overseeing the first combat deployment of the F-35B Joint Strike Fighter to U.S. 5th Fleet.

Assignments to shore billets include serving as a flight instructor with HSL-41 during which time he earned an Executive Master of Business Administration with the Naval Postgraduate School in Monterey, California. He served as deputy safety officer (N45A) for Commander, Naval Air Forces. As executive officer and then commanding officer of Navy Recruiting District (NRD) Los Angeles, he led the country’s most geographically distributed NRD with units throughout Los Angeles, the Hawaiian Islands, Guam, and Japan.

He currently serves as executive officer, Naval Leadership and Ethics Command San Diego.

His personal awards include the Meritorious Service Medal (three awards), Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medal (three awards), Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal (two awards), as well as various campaign and unit awards.

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