A 2011 Incarnate Word Academy graduate and Corpus Christi, Texas, native is currently serving with a U.S. Navy strike fighter squadron which flies one of the world’s most advanced warplanes.
Petty Officer 3rd Class Simon Samaniego is an aviation electrician’s mate with the Mighty Shrikes of VFA 94, which operates out of Naval Air Station Lemoore. A Navy aviation electrician’s mate is responsible for the maintenance and repair of the electrical systems.
“I have learned respect,” Samaniego said. “I think it has helped make the transition from civilian to military a lot easier.”
Members of VFA 94work with the F/A 18 Super Hornet, one of the most advanced aircraft in the world. The Super Hornet takes off from and lands on Navy aircraft carriers at sea and is capable of conducting air-to-air combat as well as striking targets on land. It is approximately 61 feet long, has a loaded weight of 51,000 lbs., and a max speed of 1,190 miles per hour.
Operating from sea aboard aircraft carriers, the Super Hornet gives the Navy the power to protect America’s interests anywhere, at any time. The versatile jet has the ability to destroy targets located hundreds of miles inland, without the need to get another country’s permission to operate within its borders.
“Strike Fighter Wing, U. S. Pacific Fleet, based at Naval Air Station Lemoore, California, is the heart of Naval Aviation,” said Capt. James S. Bates, Deputy Commodore, Strike Fighter Wing, U.S. Pacific. “The sailors assigned to SFWP always exceed expectations and produce amazing results through team work and dedication to their department, squadron, the U.S. Navy and their family. Naval Aviation is a challenging occupation, but our sailors work day in and day out to provide fully mission capable aircraft and fully qualified aircrew to ensure leadership is able to answer national level tasking. I am humbled to be able to lead the sailors of SFWP and I am proud to call Lemoore my home.”
Samaniego has military ties with family members who have previously served and is honored to carry on the family tradition.
“My cousin’s husband is in the military,” said Samaniego. “I really wanted new experiences and different opportunities.”
Samaniego is also proud of receiving the Safety Pro in my last deployment for notifying the crew of a fire.
As a member of one of the U.S. Navy’s most relied-upon assets, Samaniego 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 means providing a safer future for my family,” Samaniego said.
Story by Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Electa Berassa, Navy Office of Community Outreach