PMA-290 Leadership Changes Hands

Capt. Joe Rixey relieved Capt. Steve Eastburg as manager of NAVAIR’s Maritime Surveillance Aircraft Program Office (PMA-290) today during a ceremony held at the Air Test and Evaluation Squadron 20 (VX-20) hangar onboard Naval Air Station Patuxent River.

“I feel very fortunate that I am able to remain in PMA-290 and continue to work with such an incredible team that is setting new standards in acquisition,” said Rixey, whose last assignment was as the P-8A Multi-mission Maritime Aircraft (MMA) Integrated Product Team (IPT) lead in PMA-290. “I look forward to leading this amazing group of professionals as we transform the Navy’s Maritime Patrol and Reconnaissance Force.”

Rixey’s 27 years with Navy including his last tour with P-8A will serve him well as he takes the reigns of PMA-290. Cmdr. Mike Moran, replaced Rixey as the P-8A IPT lead.

P-8A is a transformational aircraft that will be the Navy’s replacement for its aging fleet of P-3C Orions. In addition to P-8A, Rixey will oversee NAVAIR’s P-3, EP-3 and its future replacement, and S-3 acquisition programs. PMA-290 also has a robust International Programs Department, as well as an extensive Propulsion and Power Department.

Rixey, a native of Monterey, Calif., started his naval career in August 1978 with enlistment and assignment to the Naval Academy Preparatory School leading to graduation from the U.S. Naval Academy in 1983. He was designated as a naval aviator in August 1986.

Initially assigned to Patrol Squadron 17, Rixey received designations as a patrol plane commander, mission commander, NATOPS instructor pilot, and defensive air combat maneuvering instructor while making deployments to Adak, Alaska; Cubi Point, Republic of the Philippines; and Diego Garcia.

From March 1990 to September 1992 he earned a master’s degree in aeronautical engineering and follow-on engineer's degree in aeronautics at the Naval Post Graduate School.

Rixey reported aboard USS Constellation (CV-64) home-ported in San Diego, Calif., where he served as a catapult and arresting gear officer, V-2 division officer, and assistant air officer (Mini-Boss). He participated in a deployment from the Philadelphia Naval Shipyard to the west coast taking him around the Horn of South America. Additionally, he participated in numerous exercises and a deployment to the Western Pacific.

After completing fleet replacement squadron training with Patrol Squadron 30, he reported to Patrol Squadron 40, Whidbey Island, Wash., where he served as safety officer and maintenance officer. He completed a deployment to Diego Garcia and served as officer in charge of the Patrol Squadron Detachment at Jeddah, Saudi Arabia.

In July of 1997, Rixey reported to NAVAIR as the P-3 Training Systems Program Manager (PMA-205). His responsibilities included the acquisition and management of all P-3 aircrew and maintenance training and trainer devices.

In March 2000, Rixey reported as executive officer of the “Wizards” of Special Projects Patrol Squadron 2 and in March 2001, he assumed the duty as the squadron’s commanding officer until March 2002. His command participated in combat operations in support of Operation Enduring Freedom. The squadron was the recipient of the 2001 Battle “E” award.

Rixey reported to the Defense Acquisition University for Acquisition Program Manager Level III training and subsequently reported to NAVAIR as the deputy program manager for the ACAT 1D P-8A MMA Program. He led the P-8A team from initial stages of Concept Advanced Development, through source selection and program approval, and well into Systems Development and Demonstration before taking the PMA-290 reigns from Eastburg.

Eastburg, also a graduate of the U.S. Naval Academy, took over PMA-290 in November 2002 and will remain at NAVAIR as the deputy program executive officer for Air ASW, Assault and Special Mission Programs (PEO-A).

“I am extremely pleased with the accomplishments and progress that this world-class team has made during the last three years in maintaining current readiness and advancing future readiness for the Navy’s maritime patrol and reconnaissance fleet,” Eastburg said. “I will continue to be proud of this program office as it forges ahead under Capt. Rixey’s skilled and expert leadership.”

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