After a successful year as the commanding officer of Patrol Squadron (VP) 5, Cmdr. Will Toraason was relieved by Cmdr. Rob Wilkerson during a ceremony aboard Naval Air Station (NAS) Jacksonville June 28. Wilkerson will serve as the “Mad Foxes’” 68th commanding officer.
A native of San Diego, Wilkerson graduated from the U.S. Naval Academy in May 2000 with a Bachelor of Science in English.
He was designated a naval aviator in April 2002 and completed fleet replacement training with VP-30 in January 2003.
Wilkerson subsequently completed tours at VP-5, VXS-1, USS Carl Vinson (CVN-70), VP-30, VP-10, and U.S. Southern Command, respectively, before arriving back at VP-5 last spring to assume the responsibilities of executive officer.
With more than 2,500 hours logged in various U.S. Navy aircraft, Wilkerson has received numerous awards including the Defense Meritorious Service Medal, Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medal (5), Joint Service Achievement Medal, Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal (2), the Navy & Marine Association Leadership Award (2), and various campaign and unit awards.
When asked about his plans following change of command, Wilkerson said, “We will continue to ensure that the P-8A Poseidon is the most formidable anti-submarine warfare platform in the world, and we will continue to cultivate a command culture that is team oriented and results in a rewarding on-the-job experience for each and every member of our squadron.
Toraason, a Cincinnati native, graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Physics from Carnegie Mellon University in 1999, and commissioned through the Naval Reserve Officers Training Corps.
He holds a master’s degree in Public Administration from the Harvard Kennedy School of Government.
Toraason served his first operational tour as a submarine officer aboard the fast attack submarine USS Jefferson City (SSN 759), where he earned his gold dolphins and completed nuclear engineer qualifications, deploying with the boat to the western Pacific and Arabian Gulf.
He then transitioned to aviation, completing tours with VP-45, VP-16, CTF-72, Maritime Patrol and Reconnaissance Weapons School, and OPNAV N8 at the Pentagon.
He assumed command of VP-5 last spring, leading the Mad Foxes through a successful split-site deployment to the 4th and 6th Fleets.
Reflecting on his time as the 67th VP-5 commanding officer, Toraason said, “This past year, the Mad Foxes have excelled in every mission area operating in North America, South America, Europe, and the Middle East. This is founded in the culture our women and men show of commitment to each other as a family. With Cmdr. Wilkerson in command, this squadron is bound for even greater achievements.”
After relinquishing command at VP-5, Toraason will serve as deputy commander, Patrol and Reconaissance Wing 57 based in Manama, Bahrain.