Pictured above: Petty Officer 3rd Class George Drexel – Picture courtesy of the US Navy by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Theodore Quintana
By Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Jesse Hawthorne, Navy Office of Community Outreach
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – A 2012 South Rowan High School graduate and China Grove, North Carolina, native is serving in the U.S. Navy aboard Naval Air Station Jacksonville, home to the U.S. Navy’s newest maritime, patrol and reconnaissance aircraft.
Petty Officer 3rd Class George Drexel is a Navy aviation electrician’s mate serving with Commander, Patrol and Reconnaissance Wing 11 (CPRW-11).
A Navy aviation electrician’s mate is responsible for wiring and lighting on the aircraft and troubleshooting aircraft systems.
“I did electrical work before the Navy and wanted to do that type of job in the Navy,” said Drexel.
Drexel credits success in the Navy to many of the lessons learned in China Grove.
“I got out of my hometown to better myself and move on to try different things and accept change,” said Drexel.
The P-8A Poseidon is a multi-mission aircraft that is replacing the legacy P-3C Orion. Those who fly in the P-8A hunt for submarines and surface ships as well as conduct intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance missions.
The P-8A operates with a smaller crew than the P-3C, and it also delivers an extended global reach, greater payload capacity, and higher operating altitude. It also has an open-systems architecture with significant growth potential.
According to Navy officials, there are more than 15 Navy patrol squadrons in the U.S. and eight of those squadrons belong to Wing Eleven, headquartered in Jacksonville, Florida. This means that those who serve here are part of the first “Super Wing” in Maritime Patrol and Reconnaissance history, ready to deploy and defend America and allies around the world.
Wing Eleven recently added the Navy’s newest squadron to its arsenal: Unmanned Patrol Squadron Nineteen (VP-19), flying the MQ-4C Triton Unmanned Aerial System (UAS). The P-8A and MQ-4C will serve as the future of the Maritime Patrol and Reconnaissance Force, according to Navy officials.
When asked about his plans following his assumption of command ceremony in June, Capt. Craig T. Mattingly, Commodore, Patrol and Reconnaissance Wing 11 said, “Our focus will be to take care of our most precious assets, the men and women of (Wing Eleven). We will sustain current readiness of our P-8A squadrons and reserve P-3C squadron while incorporating the MQ-4C Triton into the maritime patrol and reconnaissance force.”
Though there are many ways for a sailors to earn distinction in their command, community, and career, Drexel is most proud of bettering his life and building it up with his family.
“I never thought I would be in the position I am in now and serving in the Navy really helped with that,” Drexel said.
As a member of one of the U.S. Navy’s most relied upon assets, Drexel and other sailors know they are part of a legacy that will last beyond their lifetimes, one that will provide a critical component of the Navy the nation needs.
“The best part about serving with this command is being able to protect our coasts by finding threats in the ocean,” said Drexel.
“To me, serving in the Navy means family tradition and having pride to serve my country,” said Drexel.
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