By Kayla Turnbow
NORFOLK, Va. – Grant Starnes is a Navy pilot serving with the Fleet Angels, a versatile squadron that’s capable of completing a number of important missions with the MH-60S “Knighthawk” helicopter.
Starnes, a lieutenant (junior grade) is responsible for transitioning to the MH-60S platform for the pilots to be ready for the fleet.
Starnes credits success in the Navy to many of the lessons learned growing up in Monroe.
“I was taught to stick with the job at hand and put my best effort into what needs to get done,” Starnes said. “Perseverance is important. You should always take things a step further and not just settle for knowing the minimum.”
The 2012 Weddington High School graduate is serving with Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron Two at Naval Station Norfolk. HSC-2 trains more than 1,500 pilots, aircrewmen and aviation students annually.
When flying the “Knighthawk” helicopter, members of the Fleet Angels search for surface ships, support special operations forces, conduct combat search and rescue missions, and perform other military operations around the world.
“This command does a good job of creating a climate to push each other to be better in an encouraging and competitive way,” Starnes said.
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.
Starnes is playing an important 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 Spencer said. “Readiness, lethality and modernization are the requirements driving these priorities.”
Serving in the Navy is a continuing tradition of military service for Starnes, who has military ties with family members who have previously served. Starnes is honored to carry on the family tradition.
“My dad was a captain in the Air Force,” Starnes said. “For me, serving is a matter of giving back.”
As a member of one of the U.S. Navy’s most relied-upon assets, Starnes 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 putting yourself forward for others,” Starnes said. “There are other things we could all be doing but we decided to do this as more selfless than self-interest.”
Kayla Turnbow works with the Navy Office of Community Outreach.