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Airman Davis Samontry, a Southridge grad, is serving in the U.S. Navy with Commander Strike Fighter Wing, U.S. Pacific Fleet.

Airman Davis SamontryThe Times

The U.S. Navy helped launch the career of a Southridge High School graduate. Now he's returning the favor.

Airman Davis Samontry, a Beaverton native, is serving in the U.S. Navy with Commander Strike Fighter Wing, U.S. Pacific Fleet. As such, he serves as a plane captain who helps launch and recover aircraft.

"I like the fact that I am able to deal directly with the pilots on a daily basis," Samontry said.

He works as an aviation structural mechanic equipment and operates out of

Naval Air Station Lemoore, Calif.

The air station has been home for the Navy's storied Hornet fleet for decades, according to Vice Adm. Mike Shoemaker, commander of Naval Air Forces. "Lemoore has been home to the Navy's west coast strike fighter community since 1980, when strike fighter squadron VFA-125 was the first squadron established to train Navy and Marine Corps aviators in the F/A-18 Hornet," he said.

The F/A-18 Hornet is a twin-engine aircraft capable of operating off an aircraft carrier. It is designated as both a fighter (air-to-air combat) and attack (air-to-ground combat) aircraft.

"The command is close and I know there are multiple people who I can trust and I have trust and confidence in our leadership," Samontry said.

The Strike Fighter Wing consisting of more than 20 squadrons, specialized jobs range from training new aviators to maintaining airframes and engines, to handling and flying aircraft.

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