Rear Adm. Mark Leavitt Steps Into The Top Job
The Naval Air Training Command (NATRACOM) held a change of command ceremony aboard USS Lexington museum Nov. 15. Rear Adm. Mark Leavitt (pictured) relieved Rear Adm. William Sizemore II, as the chief of Naval Air Training (CNATRA). Sizemore is retiring after 32 years of service as a commissioned naval officer.
NATRACOM conducts and oversees all pilot and naval flight officer training for the Navy, Marine Corps and Coast Guard throughout five training air wings located in three states. It also oversees the Naval Flight Demonstration Squadron, the Blue Angels.
Sizemore, a 1980 graduate of the United States Naval Academy, is a third-generation Sailor and second-generation naval aviator. He served as CNATRA since September of 2009. "If I could have picked a place for the last tour of duty, it would have been here. Training Command is where I started; it's where all naval aviators start - and it's just been wonderful," said Sizemore.
Sizemore was quick to credit the success of the NATRACOM's mission to the personnel assigned to the command and its subordinate commands. "It's been a total team effort by everybody in this command - the staff here, each of the five Training Air Wings and each of the squadrons under those Training Air Wings and ultimately down to the instructor pilots, instructor NFOs, the student aviators and the student naval flight officers - they've all gotten it done. I'm very proud of our record of accomplishment, but again it's been a total team effort on everybody's part. It always is, in the Navy."
The guest speaker, Vice Adm. Allen G. Myers, who served as commander, Naval Air Forces (CNAF) from 2010 to October 2012, and is assigned as the next deputy chief of Naval Operations, Integration of Capabilities and Resources (N8), commended Sizemore and the NATRACOM. "For the past three years, Naval Air Training Command has performed superbly under the guiding hand of Bill Sizemore," said Myers. "I couldn't be prouder of what "Size" and his team has accomplished."
Leavitt is a graduate of Florida State University in Tallahassee, Fla., and was designated a naval aviator in 1986.
Leavitt is already familiar with NATRACOM, previously serving as the commander of both the Training Air Wing 2 Reserve Component and CNATRA Reserve Component. Before reporting as CNATRA, he served as commander, Naval Air Forces Reserve. "There are many challenges ahead," said Leavitt. "Yet I know the CNATRA team: officer, enlisted, government civilians and contractors, will continue to overcome these challenges and safely train the best naval aviators and naval flight officers in the world."
(Photo provided by the U.S. Navy)