Opelika native serves with Navy Strike Fighter Squadron

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By Mass Communication
Specialist 1st Class Electa Berassa
Navy Office of
Community Outreach

A 2015 Opelika High School graduate and Opelika native is currently serving with a U.S. Navy strike fighter squadron which flies one of the world’s most advanced warplanes.
Seaman Joshua A. Shaver is a yeoman with the Top Hatters of VFA 14, which operates out of Naval Air Station Lemoore. A yeoman’s responsibilities include correcting member’s evaluations and maintaining correspondence and awards for the command.
“I have learned to be happy. You can make something positive out of everything,” Shaver said. “It has helped me in the military when it comes to customer service. It makes me feel better knowing they can rely on someone else to make sure things are handled correctly.”
Members of the VFA 14 work with the F/A 18 Super Hornet, one of the most advanced aircrafts in the world.
The Super Hornet 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. It is approximately 61 feet long, has a loaded weight of 51,000 pounds, and a max speed of 1,190 miles per hour.
Operating from sea aboard aircraft carriers, the Super Hornet gives the Navy the power to protect America’s interests anywhere, at any time.
The versatile jet has the ability to destroy targets located hundreds of miles inland, without the need to get another country’s permission to operate within its borders.
“Strike Fighter Wing, U. S. Pacific Fleet, based at Naval Air Station Lemoore, California, is the heart of Naval Aviation. The sailors assigned to SFWP always exceed expectations and produce amazing results through team work and dedication to their department, squadron, the U.S. Navy and their family,” said Capt. James S. Bates, Deputy Commodore, Strike Fighter Wing, U.S. Pacific. “Naval Aviation is a challenging occupation, but our sailors work day in and day out to provide fully mission capable aircraft and fully qualified aircrew to ensure leadership is able to answer national level tasking. I am humbled to be able to lead the sailors of SFWP and I am proud to call Lemoore my home.”
Shaver said he has military ties with family members who have previously served and is honored to carry on the family tradition.
“My dad was in the Marines. Growing up, I could not sit still in the classroom. I wanted something that would challenge me,” Shaver said. “My dad told me to try the military. So, I thought ‘I may as well carry out the tradition.’”
As a member of one of the U.S. Navy’s most relied-upon assets, Shaver and other sailors know they are part of a legacy that will last beyond their lifetimes providing the Navy the nation needs.
“Serving in the Navy changes throughout your career,” Shaver said. “I initially wanted to just get away from my town. But, now I’m married with a family, so I want that stability for them.”

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