VAW-120 NFOs Earn Their Wings of Gold


Story Number: NNS071210-07Release Date: 12/10/2007 2:10:00 PM
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By Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class (SW) Rachael Leslie, Commander, Naval Air Force Atlantic Public Affairs

NORFOLK (NNS) -- Eight members of Carrier Airborne Early Warning Squadron (VAW) 120 received their coveted wings of gold during a ceremony held at Breezy Point Officer's Club on Naval Station Norfolk, Nov. 30.

Capt. Robert Brown, Chief of Staff, Naval Air Force Atlantic, was the guest of honor for the ceremony and spoke fondly of his days in the aviation community.

"I've been in the Navy for three decades, and I can't imagine not being a part of this aviation family, and especially the Hawkeye family," said Brown. "You will never forget today, no matter where your Navy career takes you, and it will take you to places you never dreamed of."

Brown reiterated the importance of this day.

"Along with the gold wings you are about to receive, you also bear increased responsibility, authority and opportunity," said Brown. "Wear you wings with pride. Cherish this moment. Be proud of our traditions. Welcome to the aviation family. Now go write the next phase of our history!"

The eight members of the NFO class included: Lt.j.g. Matthew Campbell, Lt.j.g. James Beaty, Lt.j.g. Keith Frost, Ltj.g. Anisa Kaplenk, Lt.j.g. Matthew Lukevics, Lt.j.g. Patrick Mahoney, Lt.j.g. Fernando Pena and Lt.j.g. Carlos Pesquera.

"I've thought about it [becoming an naval flight officer (NFO)] through the years," said Kaplenk. "The most rewarding part is finally having a set of wings and being that much closer to joining the fleet."

With NFO training behind them and a new pair of golden wings on their uniforms, each new NFO will report to his or her new squadron around the globe.

"I'm most looking forward to going on deployment and getting to do all the fun things our instructors said we would," said Kaplenk, who will soon report to VAW-116 based out of Point Mugu, Calif.

In addition, Campbell and Pesquera will report to VAW-113, Mahoney will report to VAW-112 and Frost will report to VAW-117, all based out of Point Mugu. Lukevics will report to VAW-123, Pena will report to VAW-126, and Beaty will report to VAW-125, all based out of Norfolk.

For more news from Commander, Naval Air Force Atlantic, visit www.news.navy.mil/local/comnavairlant/.

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