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Upper Marlboro sailor selected for Navy Rhino Demo Team

Upper Marlboro sailor selected for Navy Rhino Demo Team

Aviation Machinist Mate 2nd Class Marshal Ngwenya, from Upper Marlboro, poses for a photo.

A South African U.S. Navy sailor from Upper Marlboro looks forward to supporting the U.S. Navy Rhino Demonstration Team for the 2020 air show season.

The Rhino Demo Team is a single ship air show demonstration that displays the rich heritage of naval aviation to patriotic audiences across the United States. The demo flight profile highlights the mobility, versatility and power of the most lethal, carrier-based Strike Fighter aircraft in the world, the F/A-18F Super Hornet, nicknamed the “Rhino”.

The Rhino Demo Team includes 15 elite members; four pilots, three weapon systems officers and eight maintainers. All team members are attached to Strike Fighter Squadron (VFA-106).

Aviation Machinist’s Mate 2nd Class Marshal Ngwenya immigrated to the United States in 2014 and entered into the U.S. Navy two years later in 2016.

Ngwenya has been assigned to VFA-106 since January 2019.

“Serving at VFA-106 you get to see a lot of different people and serve with other cultures and backgrounds,” said Ngwenya, who manages fuel systems, engines, and ensures that all aircraft are operational and ready to fly.

The Rhino Demo Team will fly the F/A-18F to 11 different air shows throughout the United States in 2020:

April 18, Thunder Over Louisville (Louisville, Ky.)

May 23-24, Hyundai Air & Sea Show (Miami Beach, Fla.)

June 5-7, Wildwood Air Show (North Wildwood, N.J.)

June 13-14, Ocean City Air Show (Ocean City)

July 4, Thunder Over North Beach (Racine, Wis.)

July 23-26, EAA AirVenture Oshkosh (Oshkosh, Wis.)

August 15-16, Chicago Air & Water Show (Chicago, Ill.)

August 29-30, New York Air Show (New Windsor, N.Y.)

September 19-20, NAS Oceana Air Show (Virginia Beach, Va.)

October 10-11, Wings Over Houston Air Show (Houston, Texas)

November 14-15, JBSA Air Show (San Antonio, Texas)

VFA-106, also known as the “Gladiators”, is located at Naval Air Station Oceana. As the East Coast Super Hornet Fleet Replacement Squadron, VFA-106 is comprised of over 200 Officers and 1,340 Sailors who are committed to training the next generation of Strike Fighter aircrew in the tactical employment of the F/A-18E/F Super Hornet.

The writer is a commander with the Naval Air Force Atlantic Public Affairs.

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