Marine assumes command of Navy's unmanned aircraft program

By MEGAN MILLER | Beaver County Times, Pa. | Published: August 10, 2014

BEAVER, Penn. — A Beaver native now leads the Navy's small unmanned aircraft systems.

Marine Col. Eldon Metzger recently assumed command of the Navy and Marine Corps Small Tactical Unmanned Aircraft Systems Program Office.

The 1988 Beaver Area High School graduate leads a team of military and civilian professionals managing a portfolio of nine unmanned aircraft systems supporting combat and training operations.

"It's an ever-changing dynamic," Metzger said.

Metzger was commissioned in 1992 from Pennsylvania State University, where he earned a bachelor's degree in applied mathematics. He was designated a naval aviator in 1994. He graduated from U.S. Naval Test Pilot School at Patuxent River in 2001 and then served as a platform coordinator for the UH-1N Marine helicopter. In that role, Metzger introduced a new, forward-looking infrared camera to Marine units in Kuwait just prior to Operation Iraqi Freedom.

Metzger served operational tours with Marine Light Attack Helicopter Squadron (HMLA) 269, HMLA-369 and HMLA-367, completing two deployments with the 31st Marine Expeditionary Unit.

Metzger most recently served as the Marine assistant to the assistant secretary of the Navy for Research, Development and Acquisition in the Pentagon.

Metzger, who is married to the former Jennifer Sassaman, a 1989 Beaver graduate, said he comes back to the area a couple of times a year to visit family. His father lives in Brighton Township. His wife's family resides in Beaver.

Metzger said his goal in the new post is to continue "to support the mission and the warfighter."

"It's all been a learning experience," Metzger said.


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