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Capt. Harris Halverson assumes command of NOAA Aircraft Operations Center in Tampa

August 2, 2013


NOAA Corps Capt. Harris B. Halverson is the new commanding officer of the NOAA Aircraft Operations Center in Tampa, Fla.

High resolution (Credit: NOAA)

NOAA Corps Capt. Harris B. Halverson today assumed command of the NOAA Aircraft Operations Center in Tampa, Fla. The center is home to most of NOAA’s environmental research, reconnaissance and survey aircraft, including the agency’s “hurricane hunter” planes.

Halverson relieved Capt. Randall J. TeBeest, who had served as the center’s commanding officer since July 2011. The Aug. 2 change-of-command ceremony was presided over by Rear Adm. David A. Score, deputy director for operations for the NOAA Office of Marine and Aviation Operations.

“Capt. TeBeest’s service as the center’s commanding officer has been exemplary, and we thank him for his dedication and leadership,” said Score. “NOAA’s aircraft operations will also be well-served by Capt. Halverson, a proven leader who is committed to the safety and success of every mission NOAA flies on behalf of the nation.”

Halverson was born in Minneapolis and was raised both in Minnesota and the Tampa Bay area. Upon graduation from Lakewood High School in St. Petersburg, Fla., in 1984, he enlisted in the U.S. Marine Corps, and was accepted into the Naval Academy Preparatory School. He attended the U.S. Naval Academy and graduated in 1990 with a degree in oceanography.

He later completed U.S. Navy flight training and was assigned to Patrol Squadron 16 in Jacksonville, Fla., where he flew P-3C Orion anti-submarine aircraft. He completed two six-month deployments as aircraft commander and as Chief of Naval Operations special project (Beartrap) mission commander. Halverson was nominated for Naval Aviator of the Year in 1997.

In 1998, Halverson transferred to Patrol Squadron 30, where he instructed newly designated naval aviators until he completed an inter-service transfer as a lieutenant commander to the NOAA Commissioned Officer Corps in 2000. Initially assigned to the center, he qualified as hurricane aircraft commander and received the NOAA Office of Marine and Aviation Operations Employee of the Year Award for 2003. Halverson also managed a project to install a tail Doppler radar system on NOAA’s Gulfstream IV-SP aircraft. He has piloted NOAA hurricane hunter aircraft into more than 30 tropical cyclones, including Hurricane Sandy.

In 2008, Halverson assumed the duties of executive officer of NOAA Research and was promoted in 2009 to the senior executive service position of acting director of NOAA’s Office of Ocean Exploration and Research. He returned to  the center in 2010 to serve as chief of its operations branch.

Halverson is a graduate of both the Naval Postgraduate School’s Aviation Safety Program and Harvard’s Senior Executive Fellows Program. He lives in Tampa with his wife and two children.

Located at MacDill Air Force Base in Tampa, the Aircraft Operations Center 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.

NOAA's mission is to understand and predict changes in the Earth's environment, from the depths of the ocean to the surface of the sun, and to conserve and manage our coastal and marine resources. Join us on TwitterFacebook and our other social media channels. Visit our news release archive.