(BELLE CHASE, LA.) - Bedford native Scott Gootee is the new commander of the Naval Air Station - Joint Reserve Base in Belle Chasse, Louisiana, near New Orleans. The change of command took place Friday.
Goootee's family, including his parents, Carl and Judy Gootee of Lawrence County, were present for the ceremony.
As commander, Gootee is responsible for a 5,000-acre installation that employees about 7,000 people and is home to Navy, Marine, Air National Guard and Coast Guard flying units, as well as Army and Marine Corps logistics and infantry units.
Gootee is only the second Navy helicopter pilot to command the air station in its 55-year history.
Before taking command, Gootee was head of aviation training at the Pentagon.
Before his work at the Pentagon, Gootee had been commander of a U.S. Navy helicopter unit based at Naval Station Norfolk in Virginia. That made him the leader of the 330-person "Red Wolves" of Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron 84. The squadron provides special operations support with a four-aircraft detachment based in central Iraq.
Gootee and his wife, Vanessa, have two daughters, Marissa and Amanda.
While growing up in Bedford, Gootee attended Lincoln Elementary School and St. Vincent de Paul Catholic School. He graduated from Bedford North Lawrence High School. Coming out of high school, he picked up a Naval Reserve Officers Training Corps scholarship and went to Purdue University, graduating in 1991 with a degree in aeronautical engineering.
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