Commander, Naval Air Forces

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Commander, Naval Air Forces and
Commander, Naval Air Force Pacific
Insignia of the Commander, Naval Air Forces and Commander, Naval Air Force Pacific
Vice Admiral Daniel L. Cheever
since 31 January 2024
Department of the Navy
TypeType Commander
Reports toChief of Naval Operations
Commander, U.S. Pacific Fleet
SeatNaval Air Station North Island
FormationCNAF – October 2001
CNAP – July 29, 1942
First holderAdmiral John B. Nathman
Unofficial names"Air Boss"
DeputyDeputy Commander, Naval Air Forces

The Commander, Naval Air Forces (a.k.a. COMNAVAIRFOR, and CNAF; and dual-hatted as Commander, Naval Air Force, Pacific, and COMNAVAIRPAC) is the aviation Type Commander (TYCOM) for all United States Navy naval aviation units. Type Commanders are in Administrative Control (ADCON), and in some cases Operational Control (OPCON) of certain types of assets (ships, submarines, aircraft, and Fleet Marines) assigned to the Pacific and Atlantic Fleets. AIRFOR is responsible for the materiel readiness, administration, training, and inspection of units/squadrons under their command, and for providing operationally ready air squadrons and aircraft carriers to the fleet.

COMNAVAIRFOR is a three-star headquarters, based at NAS North Island in Coronado, California. The current commander is VADM Daniel Cheever. The staff is made up of approximately 515 officer, enlisted, civilian and contractor personnel. The position is colloquially known throughout the Navy as "the Air Boss", mimicking the nickname given to the officer who commands the air department on an aircraft carrier.


"Man, train, and equip deployable, combat-ready naval Aviation forces that win in combat."[1]

Naval Aviation Enterprise (NAE)[edit]

Commander, Naval Air Forces (CNAF), also known as the "Air Boss," is the senior Navy leader of the Naval Aviation Enterprise (NAE) and is responsible for all Naval Aviation programs, personnel and assets. CNAF is a dual-hatted position where the incumbent concurrently functions as Commander, Naval Air Force, U.S. Pacific Fleet (COMNAVAIRPAC). CNAF is supported by Commander, Naval Air Force, U.S. Atlantic Fleet (COMNAVAIRLANT); Commander, Naval Air Force Reserve (COMNAVAIRES); the Chief of Naval Air Training (CNATRA); and the Commander, Naval Aviation Warfighting Development Center (NAWDC).

The NAE encompasses all of Naval Aviation and has three, three-star leaders. In addition to Air Boss, these leaders are the U.S. Marine Corps Deputy Commandant for Aviation and the commander of Naval Air Systems Command (COMNAVAIRSYSCOM). Within the NAE there are approximately 3,800 sea-based and shore-based aircraft that perform strike/fighter, electronic attack, airborne early warning, maritime patrol and reconnaissance, anti-surface warfare, anti-submarine/sub-surface warfare, strategic communications relay, search and rescue (SAR), helicopter mine countermeasures, training, and logistical support missions. These assets include 11 aircraft carriers and approximately 100,000 active and reserve military personnel, as well as Department of the Navy civilians and contractors.


In October 1919, Air Detachment, Pacific Fleet came into existence, making naval aviation formally part of the U.S. Pacific Fleet.[2] The original organization was divided into Landplane, Shipplane and Seaplane divisions. Within a brief period, the three divisions evolved into Fighting, Spotting and Seaplane Patrol Squadrons, respectively. The purpose of air detachments was: "attack on enemy aircraft, spotting gunfire for surface craft torpedo attack by torpedo planes, demolition, toxic gas and incendiary bomb attack, smoke and gas screen laying, mine and countermining; flare dropping; scouting reconnaissance, patrol and convoy duty; photography, mapping, detection of enemy coastal defenses and mail passenger service."[3]

In June 1922 as part of a reorganization combining the Atlantic and Pacific Fleets into the U.S. Fleet, the detachment was renamed Aircraft Squadrons, Battle Fleet. In 1933, another reorganization established two principal commands: Commander Aircraft Battle Force and Commander Tender-based Aircraft.

Commander, Air Pacific was established during World War II as the requirements of supporting air combat units widely deployed in the Pacific Ocean area increased.

Finding much inefficiency in the various administrative commands within naval aviation, Admiral Chester W. Nimitz, Commander in Chief, United States Pacific Fleet directed a consolidation of various administrative functions for a more efficient command structure. This new command became Air Pacific Fleet, "to function as a Type Commander for fleet aircraft, to prepare general policy and doctrine for the operation of aviation units, to recommend the types, characteristics and numbers of aircraft required, and to carry out the strategic distribution of all air units in the Pacific area."[4]

On July 29, 1942, Admiral Ernest King approved the recommendation and thus established Commander U.S. Naval Air Force, Pacific Fleet (COMNAVAIRPAC), effective September 1, 1942. Vice Admiral John Henry Towers became its commander soon afterwards.

In May 1949, the headquarters was moved from Pearl Harbor, Hawaii to Naval Air Station, North Island, California.

In October 2001, the Chief of Naval Operations redesignated Commander, Naval Air Force U.S. Atlantic Fleet (AIRPAC's East Coast counterpart) from a three star command into a two star command and placed it under AIRPAC's command in a "Lead-Follow" arrangement. Under this arrangement COMNAVAIRPAC became TYCOM for Air, and assumed the additional title of Commander, Naval Air Forces (COMNAVAIRFOR). The Chief of Naval Air Training (CNATRA) and the Commander, Naval Air Force Reserve (COMNAVAIRES) were also subsequently placed under the aegis of COMNAVAIRFOR.

Past commanders[edit]

Logo for Naval Air Force, Pacific Fleet.
  1. Vice Admiral John B. Nathman (August 2000 – August 2, 2002[5])
  2. Vice Admiral Michael D. Malone (August 2, 2002 – August 17, 2004[6])
  3. Vice Admiral James M. "Jim" Zortman (August 17, 2004 – June 22, 2007[7])
  4. Vice Admiral Thomas J. "Tom" Kilcline Jr. (June 22, 2007 – July 1, 2010[8])
  5. Vice Admiral Allen G. "Al" Myers IV (July 1, 2010 – October 4, 2012[9])
  6. Vice Admiral David H. Buss (October 4, 2012 – January 22, 2015[10])
  7. Vice Admiral Troy M. "Mike" Shoemaker (January 22, 2015 – January 11, 2018[11])
  8. Vice Admiral DeWolfe Miller III (January 11, 2018 – October 2, 2020[12])
  9. Vice Admiral Kenneth R. Whitesell (October 2, 2020 – September 7, 2023[13])
  10. Rear Admiral George M. Wikoff (Acting) (September 7, 2023[13] – January 2024)
  11. Rear Admiral Douglas C. Verissimo (Acting) (until January 31, 2024)
  12. Vice Admiral Daniel Cheever (January 31, 2024 – present)

Subordinate commands[edit]

Commander, Fleet Air, Western Pacific (COMFAIRWESTPAC)[edit]

Commander, Patrol And Reconnaissance Group, Pacific[edit]

Commander, Patrol and Reconnaissance Wing TEN[edit]

USS Carl Vinson (CVN-70)[edit]

USS Theodore Roosevelt (CVN-71)[edit]

USS John C. Stennis (CVN-74)[edit]

USS Ronald Reagan (CVN-76)[edit]

USS Abraham Lincoln (CVN-72)[edit]

USS Nimitz (CVN-68)[edit]

USS George Washington (CVN-73)[edit]

Carrier Air Wing Two[edit]

Carrier Air Wing Five[edit]

Carrier Air Wing Nine[edit]

Carrier Air Wing Eleven[edit]

Carrier Air Wing Fourteen[edit]

Carrier Air Wing Seventeen[edit]

Commander, Airborne Command, Control, Logistics Wing (COMACCLOGWING)[edit]

Unit Nickname Aircraft Home base Notes
VAW-113 Black Eagles E-2 Hawkeye Naval Base Ventura County
VAW-115 Liberty Bells
VAW-116 Sun Kings
VAW-117 Wallbangers
VAW-120 Greyhawks E-2 Hawkeye
C-2 Greyhound
Naval Station Norfolk Chambers Field FRS
VAW-121 Bluetails E-2 Hawkeye
VAW-123 Screwtops
VAW-124 Bear Aces
VAW-125 Tigertails Marine Corps Air Station Iwakuni
VAW-126 Seahawks Naval Station Norfolk Chambers Field
VRC-30 Providers C-2 Greyhound Naval Air Station North Island
VRC-40 Rawhides Naval Station Norfolk Chambers Field
Carrier Airborne Early
Warning Weapons School (CAEWWS)

Commander, Strike Fighter Wing Pacific (COMSTRKFIGHTWINGPAC)[edit]

Unit Nickname Aircraft Home base Notes
VFA-2 Bounty Hunters
VFA-14 Top Hatters
VFA-22 Fighting Redcocks
VFA-25 Fist of the Fleet
VFA-27 Royal Maces (MCAS Iwakuni, Japan)
VFA-41 Black Aces
VFA-86 Sidewinders
VFA-94 Mighty Shrikes
VFA-102 Diamondbacks (MCAS Iwakuni, Japan)
VFA-113 Stingers
VFA-115 Eagles (MCAS Iwakuni, Japan)
VFA-122 Flying Eagles (FRS)
VFA-136 Knighthawks
VFA-137 Kestrels
VFA-146 Blue Diamonds
VFA-151 Fighting Vigilantes
VFA-154 Black Knights
VFA-192 Golden Dragons
VFA-195 Dambusters (MCAS Iwakuni, Japan)
Strike Fighter Weapons School Pacific (SFWSPAC)

Commander, Joint Strike Fighter Wing (COMJSFWING)[edit]

Commander, Electronic Attack Wing, Pacific (COMVAQWINGPAC)[edit]

Commander, Helicopter Maritime Strike Wing Pacific (COMHSMWINGPAC)[edit]

Commander, Helicopter Sea Combat Wing Pacific (COMHSCWINGPAC)[edit]

Commander, Fleet Logistics Multi-Mission Wing (VRMWING)[edit]

  • VRM-30 Titans
  • VRM-40 Mighty Bisons
  • VRM-50 Sunhawks (FRS)

Commander, Strategic Communications Wing ONE (COMSTRATCOMWING ONE)
(Tinker Air Force Base, Oklahoma)

Commander, Naval Air Training Command (CNATRA)[edit]

Naval Flight Demonstration Squadron (NFDS) "Blue Angels"[edit]

Commander, Training Air Wing One (TRAWING ONE)[edit]

  • VT-7 Eagles
  • VT-9 Tigers

Commander, Training Air Wing Two (TRAWING TWO)[edit]

  • VT-21 Read Hawks
  • VT-22 Golden Eagles

Commander, Training Air Wing Four (TRAWING FOUR)[edit]

  • VT-27 Boomers
  • VT-28 Rangers
  • VT-31 Wise Owls
  • VT-35 Stingrays

Commander, Training Air Wing Five (TRAWING FIVE)[edit]

  • VT-2 Doerbirds
  • VT-3 Red Knights
  • VT-6 Shooters
  • HT-8 Eightballers
  • HT-18 Vigilant Eagles
  • HT-28 Hellions

Commander, Training Air Wing Six (TRAWING SIX)[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Pages - missionstatement". Archived from the original on 2013-12-06.
  2. ^ "Comnavairfor". Archived from the original on 6 February 2010.
  3. ^ "Comnavairfor". Archived from the original on 6 February 2010.
  4. ^ "Comnavairfor". Archived from the original on 6 February 2010.
  5. ^ "Malone Relieves Nathman as COMNAVAIRPAC & Commander, Naval Air Forces" Journalist 2nd Class Christina O'Leary (Commander, Naval Air Force, Pacific Public Affairs). Retrieved February 22, 2013.
  6. ^ "Zortman Assumes Leadership of Naval Air Forces" Archived 2007-09-16 at the Wayback Machine Eric Beheim (Naval Media Center, Fleet Support Detachment). Retrieved February 22, 2013.
  7. ^ "Kilcline Takes Helm as Commander, Naval Air Forces" Naval Air Forces Public Affairs. Retrieved February 22, 2013.
  8. ^ "Commander, Naval Air Forces Holds Change of Command Ceremony" Commander, Naval Air Forces Public Affairs. Retrieved February 22, 2013.
  9. ^ "Commander, Naval Air Forces Holds Change of Command Ceremony" Commander, Naval Air Forces Public Affairs. Retrieved February 22, 2013.
  10. ^ "Navy aviation gets a new 'air boss'" Navy Times. Retrieved January 24, 2015.
  11. ^ "DeWolfe Appointed Commander Naval Air Forces". 26 October 2017. Retrieved 11 January 2018.
  12. ^ "Ninth 'Air Boss' Assumes Command of Naval Air Forces". U.S. Indo-Pacific Command. 5 October 2020. Retrieved 6 October 2020.
  13. ^ a b LaGrone, Sam (2023-08-25). "Acting Commanders Set to Take Charge of Naval Academy, Naval Air Forces and NAVSEA". USNI News. Retrieved 2023-09-02.

External links[edit]