NAVAL AIR SYSTEMS COMMAND, PATUXENT RIVER, Md.— A new admiral took the reins of leadership for the Program Executive Office for Unmanned Aviation and Strike Weapons (PEO(U&W)) during a change of command ceremony May 3 at Patuxent River.
Rear Adm. Brian Corey, former commander of the Naval Air Warfare Center Weapons Division base in China Lake, California, replaced Rear Adm. Mark Darrah, who will retire from the Navy after 36 years of service.
“In my 36 years, I have had the amazing opportunity to have two careers — 20 years in the fleet highlighted by an operational command and 16 years in the acquisition community,” he said. “You never know where your career is going to take you, but three things that I have carried with me…be direct and courteous, be competent, and operate as a team.”
Darrah said he could not be more proud of the U&W team for their efforts and is continually amazed at the energy they expend every day to deliver to the fleet.
“You make the fleet more capable and lethal,” he said. “Your work makes our Navy the dominant maritime power it has and always will be.”
During his tenure, PEO(U&W) delivered more than 1,400 unmanned aircraft systems and over 24,000 weapons in support of fleet requirements. His leadership was instrumental in the transition of the MQ-25 program as well as the successful development and flight test of the MQ-4C Triton system, scheduled for its first deployment this year. He also led the unparalleled development and test of the Long Range Anti-Ship Missile, leading the effort to accelerate the delivery schedule to meet a critical warfighter need.
Vice Adm. Paul Grosklags, NAVAIR commander, commended Darrah for his services and noted his accomplishments throughout his naval career. From being a leader in the electronic warfare community to coming up with new innovative ideas as Naval Air Warfare Center Aircraft Division commander and PEO, Darrah had always been up to the challenge, he said.
“There is no doubt he will leave a legacy of leadership and accomplishment behind him,” he said.
Corey, who most recently served as NAWC Weapons Division commander, will now manage a total obligation authority of more than $42 billion and lead a workforce of more than 3,800 individuals. He will be responsible for supporting all unmanned naval aviation inventory and air-launched precision and strike weapons.
“Mark Darrah and his team have set this PEO on the proper course… looking for faster, cheaper ways to stay ahead of our adversaries,” said Corey. “I have seen what they have put in place and am confident we are on the right path.”
A graduate of the University of Illinois with a bachelor’s degree in chemical engineering, Corey received his commission through the Naval Reserve Officer Training Corp. He holds a master’s degree in national security and strategic studies from the Naval War College and is a distinguished graduate of the U.S. Naval Test Pilot School.
Corey has more than 3,800 flight hours and 660 carrier arrested landings, mostly in the F/A-18 Hornet. He has logged hours in more than 20 aircraft, including the F/A-18 A-F, MiG-29, AV-8B, F-15 and F-16.