Capt. Elizabeth Somerville shakes hands with Marine Col. Richard Marigliano after taking command of Naval Test Wing Atlantic during a ceremony at Naval Air Station Patuxent River Aug. 11. (Paul Lagasse/Navy)
This officer is the first woman to lead Naval Test Wing Atlantic
By Diana Stancy Correll
Tuesday, Aug 16 2022
A woman is now commanding Naval Test Wing Atlantic for the first time.
Capt. Elizabeth Somerville, an EA-6B Prowler and EA-18G Growler naval flight officer, took command of the wing Aug. 11 during a ceremony at Naval Air Station Patuxent River in Maryland. She is tasked with leading the service’s largest developmental air wing, which tests Navy and Marine Corps aircraft. The command is the “most technically diverse air wing in naval aviation,” according to the service, and is composed of four squadrons that test and evaluate unmanned, rotary and fixed-wing aircraft.
“This test wing is charged with an important mission: Deliver lethality to our Sailors and Marines,” Somerville said, according to a Navy news release. “It’s a huge challenge, but this team is up for it — flight test is the ultimate team sport.”
A U.S. Naval Test Pilot School graduate, Somerville previously deployed to support Operations Iraqi Freedom and Enduring Freedom in the Global War on Terrorism. During a 2011 deployment to U.S. 5th and 6th fleets, she served as the operations officer with Electronic Attack Squadron 141 for the Growler’s first deployment aboard the aircraft carrier George H.W. Bush. She also previously served as the commanding officer of Air Test and Evaluation Squadrons 31 and 23.
“Over the past few years, this Wing delivered our Navy and Marine Corps capabilities, including Next Generation Jammer, the CH-53K heavy lift helicopter, and the Joint Air-to-Ground munition to name a few,” Rear Adm. John Lemmon, Naval Air Warfare Center Aircraft Division commander, said during the ceremony, according to the release. “Its leadership and our people make this team world class.”
Somerville relieved Col. Richard Marigliano, a CH-53 Stallion pilot who retired after 27 years of service.
“This tour was the most challenging and rewarding over my 27 years as a Marine,” Marigliano said. “This test wing has big jobs ahead of us advancing naval aviation — [Capt. Somerville] is the right leader to move it forward.”