VP-4 Changes Command (May 10, 2012)

Press Release
LTJG Jenna Rose
Patrol Squadron Four Public Affairs Officer


Commander Brent M. Strong relieved Commander Kevin D. Long as Commanding Officer of Patrol Squadron FOUR (VP-4) on May 10, 2012 in a ceremony held at Hangar 104 on Marine Corps Base Hawaii.

Commander Long, originally from Eustis, Florida, reported to VP-4 in May 2010 and became the squadron’s 62nd Commanding Officer in May, 2011. Under his command, the squadron completed a split-site deployment to the 5th and 7th Fleets. On March 18, 2011, VP-4 forward-deployed to Misawa AB, Japan and in fewer than 24 hours re-established Commander Task Group 72.4 as an operational entity, flying the first U.S. humanitarian missions following the earthquake and subsequent tsunami in support of Operation TOMODACHI. Under his command, the Skinny Dragons provided 254 hours of critical humanitarian and disaster relief support to the Japanese people. The squadron was recognized for its success in numerous areas during Commander Long’s time as Commanding Officer receiving the 2011 Jay Isbell Trophy for ASW Excellence, the Golden Anchor for retention excellence, the Golden Shutter award, the Medical Blue “M” for outstanding medical readiness, and the Battle Efficiency Award (Battle “E”) for sustained superior performance in an operational environment.

Commander Long will continue his career in San Diego, California, with his wife the former Andrea L. Townsend and their children, Hayden and Sydney, working for the Commander Naval Air Forces, Pacific (COMNAVAIRPAC). When asked about his time serving as Commanding Officer, he stated, “This has been one of the most rewarding tours in my entire nineteen year career. The men and women of VP-4 are professional, hard-working Americans. I am very proud of each and every one of them.”

Commander Strong reported to VP-4 in May 2011 as the Executive Officer. A native of Kingman, Kansas, he graduated from the United States Naval Academy in 1995 with a Bachelor of Science Degree in Oceanography and went on to earn his wings after completing Naval Flight Officer training in 1996 at Randolph AFB in San Antonio, Texas. His tours include assignments to VP-9, VP-30 as an FRS instructor, and VP-46 as a Department Head.

Prior to reporting to VP-4, Commander Strong’s additional tours and schools included Flag Lieutenant to the Commander, RONALD REAGAN STRIKE GROUP; the Fleet Anti-Submarine Warfare Command in San Diego, CA where he wrote the IUT syllabus; the Joint Staff in Washington D.C., where he served as the Command and Control Action Officer for the J-6; and the Naval War College, where he earned his Master’s Degree in National Security and Strategic Studies and was selected by the President of the War College for the Halsey Group.

Commander Strong is married to the former Denise Jones of Severn, Maryland, and they have four children, Abigail, Caleb, Evan, and Sophie. When asked about becoming the newest Skinny Dragon Skipper, Commander Strong enthusiastically commented, “I am thrilled for the opportunity to lead Patrol Squadron FOUR. This squadron has a long history of greatness, from fighting in every war since its commission in 1928 to being recognized with the Battle Efficiency Award eleven times in the past fifty years, the Skinny Dragons are a blue collar squadron, which is not afraid to roll up its sleeves and get to work.” Commenting on the future of the Skinny Dragons, “We are anticipating a deployment in about six months, but before departing, we have a number of inspections and two major exercises, including Rim of the Pacific (RIMPAC) and Valiant Shield, to complete prior to obtaining our deployment certification,” he continued, “I couldn’t be more proud of the squadron having witnessed, as the Executive Officer, all it accomplished over the course of the past year, and I truly believe it has earned its motto, ‘Hawaii’s Best’.”

Replacing Commander Strong as Executive Officer, Commander Jason C. Stapleton reported to VP-4 with over 3000 flying hours in the P-3C Orion. He has a BS in History and a MA in National Security. He reports after working for the Joint Staff in Washington D.C. as an Action Officer in the Command, Control, Communications and Computer Systems (J-6) Directorate and as Action Officer in the Force Structure, Resources, and Assessment (J-8) Directorate. CDR Stapleton is married to the former Cynthia Maceluch of Mobile, Alabama, and they have two daughters, Meredith and Caroline.

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