Greenville native serves with Navy strike fighter squadron
By Kayla Turnbow
Navy Office of Community Outreach
Monday, May 20, 2019
VIRGINIA BEACH, Va.— A 2012 J.H. Rose High School graduate and Greenville 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. Michelle De Vente is a weapons system operator with the Gladiators of VFA 106, which operates out of Naval Air Station Oceana. A Navy weapons system operator is responsible for working together with the pilots to operate the weapons system onboard the jet.
De Vente credits success in the Navy to many of the lessons learned growing up in Greenville.
“I learned the importance of persistence growing up,” said De Vente. “The value of hard work and bringing that work ethic to your job every day is critical. I strive to be a good team member and help others around me.”
Members of VFA 106 fly and maintain 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 pounds, 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. Super Hornets are an all-weather aircraft used as an attack aircraft as well as a fighter. In its fighter mode, the F/A-18 is used primarily as a fighter escort and for fleet air defense; in its attack mode, it is used for interdiction and air support.
A key element of the Navy the nation needs is tied to the fact that America is a maritime nation, according to Navy officials, 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.
De Vente is playing a part 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, De Vente is most proud of being commissioned from the U.S. Naval Academy and being the top graduate of Winging Class VT 86.
“The achievements were cool, but more than that it was a symbol of the efforts I put in and all of the help that I got to get to that point,” said De Vente.
Serving in the Navy is becoming a tradition for De Vente and family.
“My brother is currently in the Naval Academy and will become a pilot,” De Vente said.
As a member of one of the U.S. Navy’s most relied-upon assets, De Vente and other sailors know they are part of a legacy that will last beyond their lifetimes providing the Navy the nation needs.
“Serving in the Navy means being a part of an amazing combat team,” De Vente said. “It means I get to do something that I find to be truly rewarding and fun every single day.”