LEMOORE, Calif.- A 2010 Northern High School graduate and Owings, Maryland, native is currently serving with a U.S. Navy strike fighter squadron which flies one of the world’s most advanced warplanes.
Lt. j.g. Andrew Lacosse is a student pilot with the Flying Eagles of VFA 122, which operates out of Naval Air Station Lemoore. A Navy student pilot is responsible for learning how to properly fly and employ the Super Hornet.
“My parents instilled loyalty in me growing up,” Lacosse said. “When we are going through operations, it can be tough but if you stay loyal to your friends it helps. Giving everything you can to your squadron makes the job easier.”
Members of VFA 122 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.”
Lacosse has military ties with family members who have previously served and is honored to carry on the family tradition.
“Both my grandfathers were in WWII and my uncle was in the Coast Guard,” said Lacosse. “I thought it was cool that they had served. I played water polo with the Naval Academy Club and growing up near that, seeing them before and after the Navy was something that was interesting. Aviation was always something in the back of my mind. I saw a lot of air shows growing up and putting together with military service was something I wanted to do.”
As a member of one of the U.S. Navy’s most relied-upon assets, Lacosse and other sailors know they are part of a legacy that will last beyond their lifetimes providing the Navy the nation needs.
“There is a lot of stuff that goes on in the world that we have no control over,” Lacosse said. “Being able to help the people who can’t help themselves is what serving in the Navy is all about.”
By Kayla Turnbow, Navy Office of Community Outreach
Photo by Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Tim Miller