Tacoma Native trains to serve as the next generation of U.S. Naval Aviation Warfighters

Photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class David Finley
By Rick Burke, Navy Office of Community Outreach
A 2008 Pierce College graduate and Tacoma, Washington, native is participating in a rigorous training process that transforms officers into U.S. naval aviators.
Lt. j.g. Jacob Frantz is a student pilot with the “Golden Eagles” of Training Squadron (VT) 22, based in Naval Air Station Kingsville, Texas. The squadron flies T-45C Goshawk aircraft.
A Navy student pilot is responsible for completing a training syllabus to operate naval aircraft and deploying, and defending freedom and democracy around the world.“I enjoy learning to operate the aircraft,” Frantz said. “It seemed pretty overwhelming at first, but during this process I have proven to be more than capable.”

Frantz credits success in the Navy to many of the lessons learned growing up in Tacoma.

“My hometown is a small community and when given a job or task, I find it important to do it well and correct the first time,” Frantz said.

The T-45C Goshawk is a tandem-seat, jet trainer aircraft powered by a twin-spool non-afterburn turbofan engine with 5,527 pounds of thrust and airspeed of 645 mph.

VT-22’s primary mission is to train future naval aviators to fly as well as instill leadership and officer values, Navy officials explained. Students must complete many phases of flight training in order to graduate, including aviation pre-flight indoctrination, primary flight training, and advanced flight training. After successfully completing the rigorous program, naval aviators earn their coveted “Wings of Gold.”

After graduation, pilots continue their training to learn how to fly a specific aircraft, such as the Navy’s F/A-18 Hornet fighter attack jet aircraft or the F-35 Lightning joint strike fighter jet. They are later assigned to a ship or land-based squadron.

A key element of the Navy the nation needs is tied to the fact that America is a maritime nation, and that the nation’s prosperity is tied to the ability to operate freely on the world’s oceans. More than 70 percent of the Earth’s surface is covered by water; 80 percent of the world’s population lives close to a coast; and 90 percent of all global trade by volume travels by sea.

Frantz plays an important role in America’s focus on rebuilding military readiness, strengthening alliances and reforming business practices in support of National Defense Strategy.

“Our priorities center on people, capabilities and processes, and will be achieved by our focus on speed, value, results and partnerships,” said Secretary of the Navy Richard V. Spencer. “Readiness, lethality and modernization are the requirements driving these priorities.”

Though there are many ways for sailors to earn distinction in their command, community and career, Frantz is most proud of his prior enlisted service and being able to continue serving as a naval officer.

“To have a long-term career in the Navy doing something that I enjoy and being able to mentor student pilots is something I am proud of,” Frantz said.Serving in the Navy is a continuing tradition of military service for Frantz, who has military ties with family members who have previously served. Frantz is honored to carry on the family tradition.

“Both of my grandparents served in the Naval aviation community,” Frantz said. “I always wanted to follow their tradition in aviation and I can relate to their experiences as I follow in their footsteps.”

As a member of one of the U.S. Navy’s most relied-upon assets, Frantz and other sailors know they are part of a legacy that will last beyond their lifetimes providing the Navy the nation needs.

“Serving in the Navy is more than just a job, it’s an opportunity to provide a service to the country and be an example to those who have a desire for military service,” Frantz said.