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Waldorf native keeps Navy helicopters flying

Waldorf native keeps Navy helicopters flying

Airman Kenneth White is an aircrew survival equipment man with the U.S. Navy.

A 2013 Westlake High School graduate and Waldorf native is serving with a U.S. Navy helicopter squadron that flies the Navy’s newest and most technologically-advanced helicopter.

Airman Kenneth White credits much of their success from lessons they learned growing up in Waldorf.

“I learned to be humble, patient, and calm and everything will come to you eventually,” White said. “Comes in handy in a stressful operation tempo. You have to keep a level head.”

White is an aircrew survival equipmentman with the “Airwolves” of Helicopter Maritime Strike Squadron 40, a Mayport, Fla.-based squadron that operates the Navy’s next generation submarine hunter and anti-surface warfare helicopter, the MH-60R Seahawk. Each helicopter is nearly 65 feet long, weighs up to 23,500 lbs. and can travel over 120 miles per hour for nearly 320 miles on a tank of gas.

As an aircrew survival equipmentman, White is responsible for maintaining and inspecting pilot and aircrew survival equipment.

According to Navy officials, the MH-60R is the most capable multi-mission helicopter available in the world today. It is used for a variety of missions, including hunting and tracking enemy submarines, attacking enemy ships, search and rescue, drug interdiction, delivering supplies and supporting the Navy’s special operations forces.

It is replacing the Navy’s older helicopters because of its greater versatility and more advanced weapon systems.

White is now a part of a long-standing tradition of serving in the Navy our nation needs.

“My grandfather served in the Army. I am proud to be carrying on his memory through my service,” White said.

White said they are proud to be part of a warfighting team that readily defends America at all times.

“I was able to pick up skills for my job really quickly after leaving initial training and it felt good that the command recognized that,” said White.

Sailors’ jobs are highly varied within the squadron. Approximately 297 Navy men and women are assigned to keep all parts of the squadron running smoothly. This includes everything from maintaining helicopter airframes and engines, to processing paperwork, handling weapons and flying the aircraft.

White is playing an important part in America’s focus on rebuilding military readiness, strengthening alliances and reforming business practices in support of the 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 Richard V. Spencer, secretary of the Navy. “Readiness, lethality and modernization are the requirements driving these priorities.”

As a member of one of the Navy’s most relied upon capital assets, White and other sailors know they are part of a legacy that will last beyond their lifetimes.

Serving in the Navy, White is learning about being a more respectable leader, sailor and person through handling numerous responsibilities.

“It’s a lot of responsibility, but you learn a lot as a person,” White said. “You learn a lot about yourself, the things you can do and what you can accomplish.”

The writer is a mass communication specialist 1st class with the U.S. Navy Office of Community Outreach.