Virginia Beach, Va. – Petty Officer 2nd Class Christopher Fowler, a native of Fredericktown, Ohio, serves the U.S. Navy assigned to the Center for Naval Aviation Technical Training Unit Oceana operating from Naval Air Station Oceana.
Fowler joined the Navy eight years ago. Today, Fowler serves as an aviation electronics technician.
“I joined the Navy to follow a family tradition,” said Fowler. “My great uncles were all in the Army, Marine Corps and Airforce. My father was in the Navy for 20 years aboard submarines. When it came time for me to serve, the Navy seemed like the right fit.”
Growing up in Fredericktown, Fowler attended Highland High School and graduated in 2014. Today, Fowler relies upon skills and values similar to those found in Fredericktown to succeed in the military.
“I remember being at the county fair in Fredericktown,” said Fowler. “A gentleman I’d never seen before or spoken to before, knew who I was. That taught me that your legacy and character can go a long way. Someone could always be watching, so carry yourself with that knowledge and you can always be proud of the life you lead.”
These lessons have helped Fowler while serving with the Center for Naval Aviation Technical Training Unit Oceana.
Naval Air Station Oceana serves as the Navy’s East Coast Master Jet Base. The flight line, Apollo Soucek Field, is home to 17 aviation squadrons, and hosts the F/A-18 Super Hornet.
The Super Hornet is one of the most advanced aircraft in the world, according to Navy officials. The aircraft 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.
Navy aircraft carriers are designed for a 50-year service life. When the air wing is embarked, the ship carries more than 70 attack fighter jets, helicopters and other aircraft, all of which take off from and land aboard the carrier at sea. With more than 5,000 sailors serving aboard, the aircraft carrier is a self-contained mobile airport.
Aircraft carriers are often the first response to a global crisis because of their ability to operate freely in international waters anywhere on the world’s oceans.
Since USS Langley’s commissioning 100 years ago, the nation’s aircraft carriers and embarked carrier air wings have projected power, sustained sea control, bolstered deterrence, provided humanitarian assistance and disaster relief, and maintained enduring commitments worldwide.
“The aircraft carrier is our U.S. Navy’s centerpiece, our flagship, and a constant reminder to the rest of the world of our enduring maritime presence and influence,” said Rear Adm. James P. Downey, USN, Program Executive Officer (PEO) Aircraft Carriers. “These ships touch every part of our Navy’s mission to project power, ensure sea control, and deter our adversaries.”
Serving in the Navy means Fowler is part of a team that is taking on new importance in America’s focus on strengthening alliances, modernizing capabilities, increasing capacities and maintaining military readiness in support of the National Defense Strategy.
“The Navy contributes to the National Defense Strategy in many ways,” said Fowler. “The Navy consistently provides services around the world. We provide maritime interception operations. If a country needs assistance, we can always be there to help. We also provide freedom of navigation of the seas, even in contested waters.”
With more than 90 percent of all trade traveling by sea, and 95 percent of the world’s international phone and internet traffic carried through fiber optic cables lying on the ocean floor, Navy officials continue to emphasize the importance of accelerating America’s advantage at sea.
“Maintaining the world’s best Navy is an investment in the security and prosperity of the United States, as well as the stability of our world,” said Adm. Mike Gilday, Chief of Naval Operations. “The U.S. Navy—forward deployed and integrated with all elements of national power—deters conflict, strengthens our alliances and partnerships, and guarantees free and open access to the world’s oceans. As the United States responds to the security environment through integrated deterrence, our Navy must continue to deploy forward and campaign with a ready, capable, combat-credible fleet.”
Fowler and the sailors they serve with have many opportunities to achieve accomplishments during their military service.
“My proudest Navy accomplishment is my final checker afloat,” said Fowler. “That’s when you get to go up on the flight deck and launch jets. That was the qualification my grandma really wanted me to get before she passed, so it’s very important to me.”
As Fowler and other sailors continue to train and perform missions, they take pride in serving their country in the United States Navy.
“As a Navy sailor you can be an ambassador for America when overseas,” added Fowler. “When other countries think of America, they remember the good work done by the Navy. That’s why I feel a lot of pride when I put on my uniform and serve.”