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July 15, 2011
NOAA Corps Capt. Randall J. TeBeest assumed command today of the NOAA Aircraft Operations Center (AOC) in Tampa, Fla. The center is home to most of NOAA’s 11 research aircraft, including the agency’s WP-3D Orion and Gulfstream-IV “hurricane hunter” planes.
TeBeest relieves Capt. William B. Kearse, who had served as the center’s commanding officer since July 2009. The July 15 change-of-command ceremony was presided over by Rear Adm. Jonathan Bailey, director of the NOAA Office of Marine and Aviation Operations and the NOAA Corps.
“NOAA is committed to providing the highest level of science and service to the nation,” said Bailey. “A proven leader, Capt. TeBeest brings a wealth of experience to this position and is committed to the success of every mission NOAA flies on behalf of the American people.”
TeBeest joined the NOAA Corps in 1990 and has served in a variety of operational capacities aboard several NOAA and U.S. Navy aircraft and two NOAA ships. As a career aviator, he has spent a majority of his service assigned to AOC supporting hurricane research and reconnaissance, remote sensing, snow survey and air chemistry missions. He also served as maintenance branch deputy chief, flight management section chief and executive officer. Additionally, he served as military affairs staff officer at the U.S. Naval Research Laboratory (NRL) and P-3 pilot with the NRL Flight Support Detachment.
A native of Willingboro, N.J., TeBeest holds a bachelor’s of science in mechanical engineering from the College of New Jersey and a juris doctor from Taft Law School. He is the recipient of the NOAA Administrator’s Award, Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medal, NOAA Corps Achievement Medal and Navy Meritorious Unit Commendation, among others. He and his wife Bonnie have a son, Benjamin, and daughter, Kayla.
Located on MacDill Air Force Base, AOC is part of the NOAA Office of Marine and Aviation Operations, which includes civilians and officers of the NOAA Corps, one of the nation’s seven uniformed services. Much of the scientific instrumentation flown aboard NOAA aircraft is designed, built, assembled and calibrated by AOC’s science and engineering division.
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