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Commander

Major (select) Lance Hernandez took command of the Hernando County Composite Squadron in August 2022. He is a retired U.S. Navy officer and retired Department of Navy civilian employee.

Wanting to continue serving his nation and community, Maj Hernandez joined the Civil Air Patrol. In addition to being the squadron commander, Maj Hernandez is the squadron's Aerospace Education officer.

U.S. Navy Experience

Maj Hernandez served twenty years on active duty in the U.S. Navy as a Naval Flight Officer and Aerospace Engineering Duty Officer. 

Notable active duty tours include:

  • Earned Navy gold wings in 1987 at NAS Pensacola, FL.

Lance Hernandez flying over the Persian Gulf in S-3 Viking

  • Assigned to VS-21 San Diego CA.  Designated a Tactical Coordinator (TACCO) and Mission Commander in S-3A aircraft.  Deployed on USS Enterprise (CVN-65) for a round-the-world cruise supporting OPERATION EARNEST WILL and USS Independence (CV-62) to homeport change the squadron to Atsugi, Japan.

Lance Hernandez next to his S-3 Viking in the US Navy

  • Staff Operations Officer- reported to Commander Task Force Seven Two (CTF-72) in Kamiseya, Japan.  Coordinated directly with foreign military liaison officers from South Korea, Thailand, Malaysia, Singapore, Brunei, and Indonesia to plan multi-national naval exercises in the western Pacific and Indian Oceans. 
  • Assigned to VS-32 Jacksonville FL. Designated a TACCO and Mission Commander in the upgraded S-3B aircraft. Deployed aboard USS George Washington (CVN-73) conducting sorties in the Persian Gulf in support of OPERATION SOUTHERN WATCH.

S-3 Viking VS-21 Landing on USS Enterprise aircraft carrier

  • In 1998, designated as an Aerospace Engineering Duty Officer supporting the Navy’s S-3B aircraft acquisition program and ordered to NAVAIR at NAS Patuxent River.

Department of Navy Experience

As a Department of Navy employee, Maj Hernandez served 22 years as a senior acquisition professional at Patuxent River Naval Air Station.

He led several teams to successfully develop, test, and field new systems (aircraft, weapons, and avionics) for the Department of the Navy with the goal of delivering increased warfighting capability to the fleet.

X-47B Flight

Notable civli service accomplishments at the Naval Air Systems Command (NAVAIR) include:

  • [2013-2020] Assigned as the Senior Systems-of-Systems Engineer for the Navy Integrated Fire Control-Counter Air (NIFC-CA) program office (PMA-298).  This massive undertaking across several program offices effectively tied together critical sensor and weapon systems using leading edge technologies to improve Air Warfare defensive and offensive capabilities[1].  Lead Systems Integrator for Air Warfare requirements across five acquisition programs (F/A-18 & EA-18G, E-2D, Link-16, AIM-120/AIM-9 and F-35B/C).

Lance Hernandez at first flight of X-47B

  • [2006-2013] Served as the Air Systems Class Desk for the Unmanned Combat Air System Demonstration (UCAS-D) program (PMA-268) and led the systems integration and airworthiness certification for the X-47B[2].  The program successfully demonstrated an autonomous, unmanned vehicle could operate from an aircraft carrier and provide aerial refueling[3] within the dynamic battle group airspace.  For this unprecedented milestone in aviation history, the National Aeronautic Association (NAA) awarded the prestigious Robert J. Collier Trophy to the NAVAIR/Contractor team[4].

X-47B Landing on Carrier

  • [1998-2006] Designated the Deputy Director for the Navy’s Aging Aircraft Team (PMA-290) providing new and innovative technical solutions to address fleet logistics issues sustaining legacy aircraft.

2014 Collier Award

Education

Maj Hernandez earned a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration from the University of Redlands and a Master of Applied Science in Acoustic Physics from the Naval Postgraduate School. 

Additionally, he holds advanced technical certificates from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Georgia Technology Research Institute.


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