In a low-key, but inspiring ceremony held on Friday, April 9, Lt. Colonel Thomas E. Post, USMC relieved Capt. Steven E. Halpern, USN of Command of the Air Test and Evaluation Squadron Two One – Blackjack HX-21.
The unit is part of Naval Test Wing Atlantic and Naval Air Systems Command and is a busy squadron recording a nearly unprecedented number of test and evaluation milestones. Over the past five years, HX-21 has conducted nearly 15,000 flight hours and 32,000 ground test hours in support of multiple acquisition programs.
Test and evaluation of rotary wing aircraft by the US Navy traces its beginnings to the establishment of the Rotary Wing Section of the Flight Test Division at Naval Air Test Center, Patuxent River.
Capt. Halpern reported to HX-21 in April 2007 as its Chief Test Pilot. Halpern assumed command of the squadron in October 2008. The decorated career officer takes with him many personal awards, including the Meritorious Service medal, Navy/Marine Corps Commendation Medal, Navy/Marine Corps Achievement Medal, a joint Meritorious Unit Commendation and other service medals.
The HX-21 incoming command, Lt. Col. Post brings experience in many areas of service including Naval Air Systems Command Technical Assurance Board Mission Specialist, providing oversight to Commander, Naval Air Systems Command of designated major acquisition programs throughout the test and evaluation phase of development.
Lt. Col. Post has been decorated and honored with many personal awards including the Meritorious Service Medal, Air Medal, Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medal and Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal. He resides in Lexington Park with his wife Trisha and their three children.