FEATURE: Seminary native trains to serve as the next generation of U.S. Naval Aviation Warfighters

Ensign Samuel Lott is a student pilot with the “Redhawks” of Training Squadron (VT) 21, based in Naval Air Station Kingsville, Texas.

Photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Dvid Finley

KINGSVILLE, Texas - A 2012 Seminary High School graduate and Seminary, Mississippi, native is participating in a rigorous training process that transforms officers into U.S. naval aviators.

Ensign Samuel Lott is a student pilot with the “Redhawks” of Training Squadron (VT) 21, based in Naval Air Station Kingsville, Texas. The squadron flies T-45C Goshawk aircraft.

A Navy student pilot is responsible for developing the knowledge and skills to become a tactical naval aviator.

Seminary native

Ensign Samuel Lott is a native of Seminary.

“I enjoy flying every day because of the professionalism and commitment to excellence that my instructors and classmates adhere to,” Lott said. “I relish the opportunity to learn from and compete with them.”

Lott credits success in the Navy to many of the lessons learned growing up in Seminary.

“My family, pastor, teachers, and coaches taught me values like humility, duty and hard work which I feel are essential in this line of work,” Lott 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-21’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.

Lott 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, Lott is most proud of being selected to train as a Navy strike fighter pilot.

“I am humbled to be able to serve my country and work alongside so many brave, competent men and women,” Lott said.

Serving in the Navy is a continuing tradition of military service for Lott, who has military ties with family members who have previously served. Smith is honored to carry on the family tradition.

“My father served as a naval aviation maintainer during the Cold War,” Lott said. “I am thankful for the opportunity to carry on his tradition of service in this community.”

As a member of one of the U.S. Navy’s most relied-upon assets, Lott 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 giving my best effort every day to live up to the awesome example set by those who have served before me,” Lott said.

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