Over 30 cadets from First Coast High School Naval Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps (NJROTC) visited Naval Air Station Jacksonville last week to experience the life of a maritime patrol naval aviator.

Sailors from Patrol Squadron (VP) 5 hosted, with tours of the P-8A Poseidon aircraft and the P-8A operational flight trainer.

The visit provided them with real world examples of what the Navy has to offer and what could lie ahead of them if they continue to a career in naval aviation.

VP-5 was happy to welcome Lt. Cmdr. (ret) Suzanne Bolden, a former “Mad Fox” intelligence officer and her NJROTC cadets. As the students arrived, they were briefed on the history and purpose of VP-5 and what it means to be an aviator.

“The students were very interested in our jobs on the aircraft and what stories we had from our last deployment,” says Mad Fox pilot Lt. j.g. Sarah Amorio.

“It was cool to see their eyes light up when we took them down onto the flight line, for a tour of the aircraft.” Aircrew members from each position of the aircraft provided brief descriptions of their jobs and mission, giving a well rounded picture on how the aircraft operates with a full mission crew.

The group continued on to tour the squadron spaces, then to the flight trainer. There the students got to try their hands at the controls and practice landing with the P-8A.

Pilot Lt. j.g. Rhen Nathe said, “I think the NJROTC students had a lot of fun on the sim today, and they weren’t too bad on the controls either. I was pretty impressed.”

“This was a great opportunity to look at an elite community in the Navy,” said NJROTC cadet Commanding Officer Daniel Simmonds.

“I met great men and women that I aspire to be. This trip reassured me that I want to pursue a career in naval aviation.”

The NJROTC program, founded in 1964 under the ROTC Vitalization Act, has a mission of promoting patriotism, developing leadership potential, building informed and responsible citizens, providing information on the military services, and promoting a higher education for high school students.

The trip was an educational and fun experience for both the students and the aviators touring them around the squadron.