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NEWS | Jan. 14, 2022

Webb Assumes Command of Warlocks

By Nicholas E.M. Pasquini, U.S. Naval Research Laboratory

Cmdr. Jeffrey Webb relieved Cmdr. Ian Lilyquist as commander of the U.S. Naval Research Laboratory’s Scientific Development Squadron (VXS) 1, the Warlocks, Jan. 14 during a change of command ceremony held at Naval Air Station Patuxent River.

The U.S. Naval Research Laboratory Commanding Officer Capt. Gregory Petrovic presented Lilyquist with the Meritorious Service Medal. Lilyquist served as the VXS-1 Commanding Officer from November 2020 to January 2022.  Petrovic said Lilyquist’s distinguished leadership was instrumental to the squadron’s continued record of exceptional support to NRL’s airborne mission.

Rear Adm. Lorin C. Selby, the Chief of Naval Research, presided over the ceremony and took the opportunity to praise Lilyquist on a successful tour marked by world-wide deployments during a pandemic that advanced vital Science and Technology to the Fleet.

“The efforts being carried out by the VXS-1 Warlocks are critical for the Naval Research Enterprise,” Selby said. “The Warlocks conduct valuable airborne experimentation and advanced technology development that support naval scientific priorities and warfighting goals.”

This past year, VXS-1 laid the foundation to transition to the P-8A Poseidon – the Navy’s newest maritime patrol platform – retaining the ability for VXS-1 to support heavy lift, long endurance airborne research, ensuring the squadron has a fleet-representative platform to demonstrate technology in operational theaters to strengthen the ties between VXS-1 and the maritime patrol and reconnaissance community.

“Leading and performing these experiments is a demanding job,” Selby continued. “Cmdr. Lilyquist and his team are to be commended for the tremendous work they have done to help our Sailors and Marines maintain their technological edge.”

As the new head of VXS-1, Webb will carry on the tradition of premier airborne Science & Technology support.

 “I am deeply honored and eager to lead this talented squadron as its 15th Commanding Officer,” Webb said. “Our mission remains imperative to deliver essential scientific solutions to the warfighter. As the Navy, Marine Corps, and Department of Defense modernize and propel the rapid advances in technology that we see today, VXS-1 provides the ability to test, integrate, and field new systems to win the fight.”

In his remarks, Lilyquist thanked the VXS-1 personnel who remained steadfast in the commitment to supporting the Naval Research Enterprise airborne research missions.
“I am humbled and honored to have had the opportunity to be a part of this squadron as its Commanding Officer for the last 15 months,” Lilyquist said.  “Our work allowed the Naval Research Enterprise to conduct six major projects on our aircraft, helping turn ideas into reality to transition technology into Fleet capability at the speed of relevance.

Webb, a native of Boise, Idaho, graduated from the U.S. Naval Academy in 2003 with a Bachelor of Science degree in Engineering, and received his Master’s of Science in System Engineering from the Naval Post Graduate School, with distinction, in June 2015.

VXS-1 operates and maintains two uniquely modified NP-3C Orion, a RC-12 Huron, a UV-18 Twin Otter aircraft, and numerous Tiger Shark Unmanned Aircraft Systems used as airborne research platforms.
VXS-1's aircraft operate worldwide on extended detachments and annually log more than 400 flight hours. These aircraft are the sole airborne platforms for numerous projects such as bathymetry, electronic countermeasures, gravity mapping, and radar development research.

The squadron has a flawless safety record, having amassed more than 78,000 hours of accident-free flying since 1963.

About the U.S. Naval Research Laboratory

NRL is a scientific and engineering command dedicated to research that drives innovative advances for the U.S. Navy and Marine Corps from the seafloor to space and in the information domain. NRL is located in Washington, D.C. with major field sites in Stennis Space Center, Mississippi; Key West, Florida; Monterey, California, and employs approximately 3,000 civilian scientists, engineers and support personnel.
For more information, contact NRL Corporate Communications at (202) 480-3746 or 

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