Credit: Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class James Green / Navy Office of Community Outreach

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Lt. Matthew Eastburg, hailing from California, Maryland, is making significant contributions as a member of Patrol and Reconnaissance Squadron (VP) 45, stationed in Jacksonville, Florida. VP-45 specializes in maritime patrol, anti-submarine warfare, intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance missions. A 2012 Great Mills High School graduate, Eastburg enlisted in the Navy six years ago and obtained a Bachelor of Science in Assistant Engineering from the U.S. Naval Academy in 2017.

Motivated by the educational benefits and the desire to follow in his family’s footsteps, Eastburg joined the Navy. His father, retired two-star admiral Steven Eastburg, and his brother, Navy pilot Lt. Cmdr. Gregory Eastburg, have played influential roles in his decision.

Growing up in California, Eastburg learned important values and skills that have translated well to his military career. He credits his parents and high school soccer coach, Matt Taggart, for instilling morals, values, a strong work ethic, self-discipline, and teamwork, all of which have contributed to his success in the Navy.

VP-45 operates the U.S. Navy’s P-8A Poseidon multi-mission maritime aircraft. This advanced aircraft secures the Navy’s long-range maritime patrol capability and has revolutionized the way the Navy’s patrol and reconnaissance force trains, operates, and deploys, according to Navy officials. In addition to its high-quality weapon systems, the P-8A features an open architecture, allowing for future expansion. These aircraft are deployed globally to monitor oceans and ensure security wherever needed.

This year marks the 50th anniversary of women flying in the U.S. Navy. In 1973, the first eight women entered flight school in Pensacola, and one year later, six of them, known as “The First Six,” earned their “Wings of Gold.” Over the past five decades, the Navy has expanded opportunities for women to lead and serve in various aviation roles across the Navy, Marine Corps, and Coast Guard. The dedication and service of women aviators have contributed to the strength and success of the nation and the Navy.

Navy officials emphasize the vital role of trained sailors and a strong Navy in securing the prosperity of the United States. With 90 percent of global commerce dependent on maritime trade and the internet relying on secure undersea fiber optic cables, maintaining a powerful Navy is essential. Adm. Mike Gilday, Chief of Naval Operations, emphasizes the timeless mission of providing the best Navy, focused on warfighting excellence and superior leadership.

As a member of the Navy, Eastburg understands the importance of national defense and the role the Navy plays in preserving democracy and freedom worldwide.

“The Navy is important to national defense because we provide democracy and freedom worldwide,” Eastburg said.

Eastburg and his fellow sailors have numerous opportunities for personal and professional accomplishments throughout their military service. Eastburg takes pride in becoming an instructor pilot, training the next generation of P-8 pilots, and earning his “Wings of Gold” as a naval aviator. Naval aviators receive their “Wings of Gold” upon completing aviation training before being assigned to their first command.

Serving in the Navy holds a deep meaning for Eastburg, who sees it as an opportunity to protect the values of democracy and honor those who have sacrificed for the nation’s freedoms.

“I would like to thank my mother, Catherine Eastburg, for her love and support throughout the years,” Eastburg expressed. “I would also like to thank my wife, Amanda, for her love and support for the past five years. I want to thank my father, my brother, a Navy lieutenant commander, and my other brother, Andrew, for all their support and companionship growing up. Lastly, I would like to thank God for his protection and blessing me with my professional and personal success.”

Lt. Matthew Eastburg’s dedication to the Navy and his unwavering commitment to his duties as a member of VP-45 exemplifies the core values of the United States Navy. With his expertise and the capabilities of the P-8A Poseidon, the Navy continues to enhance its readiness to support the National Defense Strategy, strengthen alliances, modernize capabilities, and protect the nation’s interests at sea.

David M. Higgins II is an award-winning journalist passionate about uncovering the truth and telling compelling stories. Born in Baltimore and raised in Southern Maryland, he has lived in several East...

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