Redwater grad serves with Navy Strike Fighter Squadron

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By Kayla Turnbow, Navy Office of Community Outreach
Photo by Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Tim Miller 

LEMOORE, Calif.- A 2015 Redwater High School graduate and Texarkana, 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 Blake Seddens is an aviation administrationman with the Sidewinders of VFA 86, which operates out of Naval Air Station Lemoore. A Navy aviation administrationman is responsible for maintaining aircraft log books for the squadron. 

“My agriculture class taught me a lot about work ethic,” Seddens said. “It allows me to keep my head up when times get rough and to just keep pushing on.” 

Members of VFA 86 work 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.”

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

“This squadron is like a strong family,” said Seddens. “Everyone is really close and it is easy to work with people. Everyone is helpful.” 

Seddens is also proud of receiving a Flag Letter of Commendation on deployment and earning the Aviation Warfare Pin.

“Serving in the Navy makes me proud,” Seddens said. “I am able to serve knowing my family and friends are being taken care of.”

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