NAVFAC Officer in Charge of Construction China Lake Commanding Officer Frocked to the Rank of Captain Leading Earthquake Recovery Program

02 September 2022

From Edward Cartagena

SAN DIEGO, CA – Commander Ben Wainwright, commanding officer, Officer in Charge of Construction (OICC) China Lake was frocked to the rank of captain, during a private ceremony with family, friends and colleges at Naval Facilities Engineering Systems Command (NAVFAC) Southwest in San Diego, CA on September 2.

SAN DIEGO, CA – Commander Ben Wainwright, commanding officer, Officer in Charge of Construction (OICC) China Lake was frocked to the rank of captain, during a private ceremony with family, friends and colleges at Naval Facilities Engineering Systems Command (NAVFAC) Southwest in San Diego, CA on September 2.

Presiding over the ceremony was Capt. Laurie Scott, commanding officer of NAVFAC Southwest and administering the oath of office was Wainwright’s father, retired U.S. Army Col. Gary Wainwright.

“I am privileged to be entrusted with the rank and responsibility to lead sailors and civilians to plan, build and maintain sustainable naval facilities around the world,” said Capt. Wainwright. “The job at hand is to finish the work to restore the capabilities that were lost at Naval Air Weapons Station (NAWS) China Lake in the aftermath of the July 2019 earthquakes.“

Wainwright’s wife Deb, sons Jack and Noah took part in the ceremony by replacing his commander’s shoulder boards with those of a US Navy captain.

Wainwright, a native of Grandville, Michigan, holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Civil Engineering from the University of Toledo, a Master of Science in Coastal Engineering and a Master of Business Administration both from the University of Florida. He attended Officer Candidate School in Pensacola, Florida and was commissioned as an Ensign in the Civil Engineer Corps in October 2001. Wainwright is a registered Professional Engineer in the State of Michigan, a member of the Defense Acquisition Corps, a Seabee Combat Warfare Officer and Dive Officer.

Capt. Wainwright assumed command of the $2.7 billion earthquake recovery program in July 2022 that manages the reconstruction of 22 facilities, across three distinct areas aboard NAWS China Lake, the single largest landholding by the US Navy. Most recently, Capt. Wainwright, served as Ocean Operations Officer, for Maritime Surveillance Systems in San Diego, California.

OICC China Lake was established in August 2020 to provide engineering, and execution oversight for military construction and repair projects caused by the devastating damage from the 6.4 and 7.1 magnitude earthquakes that occurred on July 4 and 5, 2019.
Navy Air Weapons Station China Lake is located in the Western Mojave Desert region of California, approximately 150 miles north of Los Angeles. China Lake’s mission is to support the Navy's research, development, testing and evaluation missions to provide cutting-edge weapons systems to the warfighter. In total, the installation and its two ranges cover more than 1.1 million acres, an area nearly equal to the state of Rhode Island.

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