NAVAL AIR WARFARE CENTER AIRCRAFT DIVISION, PATUXENT RIVER, Md. – In a change of command ceremony held today at Naval Air Station Patuxent River, Cmdr. Charles Larwood officially took command of Air Test and Evaluation Squadron (VX) 20, succeeding Cmdr. John Walsh.

Under Larwood’s leadership, VX-20 will continue its vital role in testing and evaluating emerging technologies aimed at preventing future conflicts and equipping warfighters with the tools they need to ensure victory.

“VX-20 tests the emerging technology that can prevent future conflicts and enable our warfighters to win,” said Larwood during the ceremony. “I’ve been lucky to serve the Force on three separate occasions – this team is fully committed to the defense of our great nation.”

Having previously served as VX-20’s Chief Test Pilot, Larwood brings a wealth of experience and expertise to his new role. Hailing from Georgia and a graduate of the U.S. Naval Academy, Larwood has flown with multiple squadrons throughout his career and has played a crucial role in advancing critical projects such as envelope expansion for P-8A and MQ-4C, refueling compatibility testing for KC-30, and various weapons programs. He is also a Class 141 graduate of the prestigious U.S. Naval Test Pilot School (USNTPS) and has earned numerous service medals and awards.

In his farewell speech, outgoing commander Cmdr. John Walsh highlighted the squadron’s remarkable adaptability and ability to overcome challenges. “The Force is critical to advancing warfighter capability as quickly as possible,” said Walsh. “This squadron’s outstanding ability to adapt and overcome the challenges put in front of them is nothing short of amazing.”

Walsh, a native of New Jersey and also a U.S. Naval Academy alum, leaves VX-20 with an impressive flight record, accumulating over 1,800 hours in 23 different jet, prop, and rotary aircraft. He has flown with multiple squadrons and provided support for Operations Iraqi Freedom and Enduring Freedom. With over 15 years of acquisition experience supporting multiple program offices, Walsh has received several service awards and medals and is a Class 133 graduate of the USNTPS.

VX-20, as part of the Naval Test Wing Atlantic, falls under the jurisdiction of the Naval Air Warfare Center Aircraft Division. The squadron plays a crucial role in active flight test and evaluation throughout all phases of the weapons system life cycle. Their responsibilities include aircraft carrier suitability testing, navigation, aerial refueling, strategic airborne communications, airborne surveillance and intelligence collection, airborne early warning systems, carrier onboard delivery, and advanced training aircraft missions.

With facilities located in Patuxent River, Maryland; Lakehurst, New Jersey; and Orlando, Florida, the Naval Air Warfare Center Aircraft Division (NAWCAD) is dedicated to advancing the capability and operational readiness of naval aviation.

As Cmdr. Charles Larwood assumes command of VX-20, the squadron is poised to continue its vital work in testing and evaluating cutting-edge technologies that will bolster the nation’s defense capabilities and ensure the readiness of the warfighters on the front lines.

David M. Higgins II is an award-winning journalist passionate about uncovering the truth and telling compelling stories. Born in Baltimore and raised in Southern Maryland, he has lived in several East...

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