A 2012 Miami Palmetto High School graduate is serving in the U.S. Navy aboard Naval Air Station Whidbey Island (Oak Harbor, WA), the premier naval air installation in the Pacific Northwest region.
Petty Officer Third Class Lewin Joseph Thomas is an aviation structural mechanic serving with Commander, Patrol and Reconnaissance Wing 10.
A Navy aviation structural mechanic is responsible for maintaining the structural integrity of the aircraft and hydraulic components of the P-3C aircraft.
“I like the brotherhood within this job,” Thomas said. “I have never done anything mechanically before the Navy. I came here and found out that it is actually something I like.”
According to Navy officials, Wing 10 has continued to fly combat missions in direct support of the troops on the ground and delivered traditional maritime capabilities, real-time intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance.
Beginning in the 1960s, the P-3C Orion, a land-based, long-range anti-submarine warfare patrol aircraft, replaced the P-2V Neptune fleet.
After 50 years of faithful service and the 50th anniversary of Maritime Patrol and Reconnaissance Force, the P-3C Orion is being phased out of the fleet and replaced by the P-8A Poseidon, according to Navy officials.
The P-8A is a modified Boeing airframe featuring a fully connected, state-of-the-art, open architecture mission system designed for long-range anti-submarine warfare; anti-surface warfare, and intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance missions, Navy officials explained.
“Patrol and Reconnaissance Wing 10 mans, trains, and equips P-3 and P-8 squadrons to deploy anywhere, anytime,” said Capt. Robert W. Patrick, Commodore of CPRW-10. “These forces are the nation’s first choice for broad area maritime surveillance and rapid response around the world. This is critically important, as we are the eyes and the ears of our national defense, putting pressure on strategic locations around the world. Our sailors are the single biggest asymmetric advantage that allow us to succeed at our missions. Without our sailors’ agility and expertise, we would not be able to do what we do.”
Thomas is part of a crew striving to be the best Naval Aviation Wing in the United States, according to Navy Officials. Their mission is to safely build and maintain a team of sailors capable of conducting prompt and sustained combat operations.
“I like that the P-3 community is laid back,” Thomas said. “It’s easier to take pride in your own work when you aren’t having to constantly rush around.”
According to Navy officials, the Navy continues to meet milestone after milestone on this world-class mission and is providing an aircraft with superior capabilities to the men and women in uniform that will have a lasting legacy promoting a global maritime strategy.
“Serving in the Navy is fun for me,” Thomas added. “It’s a contrast of an experience than any other job that I could have in the civilian world.”