Following graduation, I attended Navy OCS and was commissioned in September 2001. Following two years of flight school, I was winged as a Naval Aviator in September 2003. Out of flight school, I selected EA-6B Prowlers.
The Prowler is a carrier-based tactical jet whose primary mission is electronic warfare. We deny the enemy the use of radars, surface-to-air missile systems, and other aspects of the electromagnetic spectrum. After a little over a year in VAQ-129, the Prowler Fleet Replacement Squadron (FRS), I was sent to fly Prowlers with VAQ-136 in Japan attached to Carrier Air Wing 5 and the Kitty Hawk Strike Group. I flew Prowlers in Japan for three years and made seven carrier deployments aboard the Kitty Hawk throughout the Western Pacific, SE Asia and Australia.
With the aging Prowler (it first flew in combat in 1972) being phased out, I transferred to VFA-106, the East Coast Hornet FRS, in January 2008 to learn to fly and instruct in the F/A-18 E/F Super Hornet. I will be continuing on to VAQ-129 to be part of the initial group of instructors to transition the EA-6B to the E/A-18G Growler at the end of next year.
I am a Navy LT/O-3 with nine years active duty, which includes two years at LETU. I have over 1100 hours total time, with 900 hours in the EA-6B and 120 hours in the F/A-18E/F. I have 305 carrier arrested landings (traps) in the T-45A, EA-6B, and F/A-18E/F. I am also a Landing Signals Officer, or LSO. As an LSO, I grade and ensure the safe recovery of aircraft aboard the carrier.
When I was at LETU, I obtained my Commercial Single Engine/Multi Engine Land, Commercial Flight Instructor Single Engine/Multi Engine Land, Instrument Instructor and a Conventional Gear rating. I was a part-time staff instructor my senior year. While the flying that I do now is very different than the civilian flying I did at LETU, the flight experience I gained was useful for Primary Flight School.
Navy Primary Flight School was flown in a single engine T-34C, although by the time a lot of current prospective students reach that point they will be flying the T-6 Texan. My LETU flight time allowed me to receive "jet" grades out of Primary. Those are the grades required to fly the Navy's tactical jets such as the EA-6B and F/A-18A through G.