PANAMA CITY, Fla. —
Capt. David N. Back relieved Capt. Aaron S. Peters as commanding officer, Naval Surface Warfare Center Panama City Division (NSWC PCD) in a small ceremony at the headquarters flagpole May 8 in accordance with COVID-19 social distancing requirements.
During the ceremony, Peters passed his command pin to Back as a symbol of camaraderie to begin a tradition for commanders of NSWC PCD.
At the conclusion of the ceremony Peters, who was an all-state wrestler from Ohio and a wrestler for U.S. Naval Academy removed his boots, a time honored tradition for wrestlers retiring from competition.
After leading the command through Category 5 Hurricane Michael and the rebuilding process, and now through the COVID-19 pandemic, Peters will retire without the fanfare typically afforded a Navy leader after more than three decades in service to the nation.
“It has been an honor to serve this command as their leader during these great times of change. I cannot express enough how proud I am of the people within this organization,” said Peters. “They have stepped up to the plate at every opportunity while maintaining strength during all of the adversity. I am proud to have been able to support during times such as these.”
Back assumes command after serving most recently as the bridge system integration program manager at Program Executive Office, Ships. A surface warfare officer acquisition professional, Back has held a variety of operational and acquisition assignments and is the former commanding officer of USS Independence (LCS 2) “Gold Crew.” He has also served as division officer, operations officer, department head and executive officer roles while aboard USS Constellation (CV 64), USS Pinckney (DDG 91), USS Cowpens (CG 63), and USS George Philip (FFG 12).
Ashore, Back served at the Naval Surface Warfare Officers School as an air defense, operations and naval tactical planning instructor. He spent a year as a brigade electronic warfare officer with the 213th Area Support Group (Army National Guard) in Balad, Iraq. His first acquisition tour was as the principal assistant program manager for Aegis Fleet Support (PEO IWS IFR).
A native of Livermore, California, Back is a 1995 graduate of Stanford University (NROTC Program) with a Bachelor of Arts degree in English. Back also has a Master of Science degree in Modeling, Virtual Environments, and Simulations from the Naval Postgraduate School.
Back said, “I am honored to assume command of NSWC PCD, and I will continue the outstanding efforts of Capt. Peters with this organization. I am looking forward to working with the talented and dedicated Panama City team.”