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Simms Native Supports Next Generation of Naval Aviators

CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas - A 2010 James Bowie High School graduate and Simms, Texas, native supports the training of naval aviation personnel and air operations.

Petty Officer 2nd Class Jimmy Burkett is a boatswain’s mate serving at Naval Air Station Corpus Christi, Texas. 

A Navy boatswain’s mate is responsible for handling all of the anchoring, mooring, and towing evolutions as well as underway replenishments and flight operations while serving aboard a naval ship.

Burkett credits success in the Navy to many of the lessons learned growing up in Simms. 

“My community taught me self-worth and a sense of pride, ” Burkett said. “It helps me stay positive through the tough times.”

The flight training program is approximately 18 months, due to the increased complexity of today's aircraft. Currently, Training Air Wing FOUR produces approximately 600 newly qualified aviators each year. Naval Air Station is also home to Corpus Christi Army Depot, Marine Aviation Training Support Group 22, Naval Health Clinic Corpus Christi and nearly 40 other tenant commands. 

“The mission of Naval Air Station, Corpus Christi, Texas, is to provide the best possible service and facilities to our customers with pride,” said Fifi Kieschnick, public affairs officer of Naval Air Station Corpus Christi. 

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.

Burkett 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, Burkett is most proud of earning two Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medals. 

“It's important to me because in the military, you are not always recognized for your hard work,” Burkett said. “Being recognized by your leaders amongst your peers is a way for them to show you their appreciation for all that you do.”

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

“My uncle retired from the Navy as an aviation technician and he has always been a leader in my family,” Burkett said. “I have always looked up to him and I’m proud to follow in his footsteps and carry on the family serving our country.” 

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

“For me, the Navy is a way of doing my own thing, seeing the world and meeting awesome people while serving my country,” Burkett said.

Bowie County Citizens Tribune

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