It turns out the outgoing captain, Captain Monty Ashliman was actually the incoming captain, captain David C. James’s Top Gun instructor back when they were pilots. Now, the teacher gave his former student an even greater assignment…
Old and new together, at a ceremony at NAS Lemoore Monday, to send off Captain Monty Ashliman to a new assignment in Virginia.
“I wouldn’t go if they didn’t make me, but we get these things called orders,” Ashliman said. “It’s truly, after 26 and a half years, the most rewarding tour of my career.”
The captain thanked his family, friends and all at the base, even recognizing some employees on stage.
“We can’t be successful with our readiness and our preparation, if we don’t have the support of not only family and friends onboard the installation, but the surrounding community members,” Ashliman said.
Then, receiving a Gold Star and reading his orders, giving command to new Captain David C. James.
James is taking over a powerful operation, that houses more than half the Navy’s strike-fighter power, and is set to grow even more with the new F-35s landing in January.
It’s a mission James is already targeting.
“We have a very important mission,” James said. “We have to support the fleet, we have aircraft that have to man those aircraft carriers and go to war.”
James credits the growth to his predecessor and mentor.
“I was here 10 years ago, this base is absolutely amazing,” James said. “It’s due to his hard work.”
Ashliman says, he’s confident James will get the job done.
Reporting in Fresno, Megan Rupe.