New commander takes over Whidbey NAS

Capt. Mike “Nort” Nortier, a veteran helicopter pilot, took command of Whidbey Island Naval Air Station on Feb. 22.

He relieved Capt. Jay Johnston before a crowd of senior Navy officials, base personnel and Whidbey Island dignitaries in a formal, but light-hearted change of command ceremony on base.

Johnston, who was at the helm for two and a half years, is headed to Washington, D.C. to become the next operations director at Naval Installations Command headquarters.

Nortier is a longtime helicopter pilot who got his wings in 1991. Over the course of his career he’s racked up more than 4,300 hours of naval flight time, saw service in Operation Enduring Freedom and Operation Tomodachi — the nation’s relief effort after a tsunami devastated Japan in 2011 — and was the recipient of numerous personal military honors and awards.

Nortier held a range of positions, from Chief of the Joint Readiness Reporting branch at Strategic Command J-3 Current Operations directorate in Omaha, Neb., to his most recent post in Iraq as director of the Senior Advisors Group for Operations Directorate of Pacific Fleet as an individual augmentee to the Office of Security Cooperation.

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