Lusby native trains to serve as the next generation of U.S. Naval Aviation Warfighters

By Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class David Finley, Navy Office of Community Outreach

Photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class David Finley

KINGSVILLE, Texas – A 2011 Patuxent High School graduate and Lusby, Maryland, native is participating in a rigorous training process that transforms officers into U.S. naval aviators.

Ensign Joseph Cox 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 training to fly Navy jet aircraft. It is a 12-month program to earn a Naval aviator qualification and to move on to training in the fleet. 

“I enjoy new challenges everyday, competition with friends and flying fast,” Cox said.

Cox credits success in the Navy to many of the lessons learned growing up in Lusby.

“I learned diligent study habits in high school, teamwork and leadership while participating in sports,” Cox 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.

Cox 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, Cox is most proud of making the commodore’s list with distinction at primary flight training in Milton, Florida in 2018. 

“This was a result of hard work and countless hours of training, and it feels good to see that effort recognized,” Cox said. 

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

“My father was a Naval aircrewman and an aviation ordanceman,” Cox said. “It is cool to carry on the Naval tradition within my family and be a part of the same communities.”

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

“Serving my country is a dream come true and an honor,” Cox said. 

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