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Gretna Native Serves at Naval Air Station Jacksonville in Support of P-8A Poseidon Aircraft

A Gretna, Virginia, native is serving with the U.S. Navy’s cutting-edge maritime patrol and reconnaissance aircraft squadron in Jacksonville, Florida.

Petty Officer 3rd Class Tyler Howell joined the Navy two years ago. Today, Howell serves as a yeoman.

“I was looking for something different in my life,” said Howell. “I always liked being around the water and wanted to be a pilot.”

Howell serves with Patrol Squadron Twenty-Six, a high-tech maritime patrol and reconnaissance squadron tasked with monitoring the world’s oceans in the state-of-the-art P-8A “Poseidon.”

Growing up in Gretna, Howell attended Gretna High School and graduated in 2014. Today, Howell finds the values in Gretna similar to those needed to succeed in the military.

“I learned about the importance of respect,” said Howell. “Where I grew up it’s a traditional, ‘yes, sir and no, ma’am.’ I respected a higher rank, which fit when I joined the military.”

These lessons have helped Howell while serving in the Navy supporting the P-8 Poseidon mission.

The P-8 Poseidon mission is to conduct maritime patrol and reconnaissance as well as long-range anti-submarine warfare, anti-surface warfare and intelligence gathering missions. They deploy around the globe to monitor the world’s oceans wherever they are needed.

The P-8A Poseidon, the Navy’s newest maritime, patrol and reconnaissance aircraft, is a replacement aircraft for the legacy P-3C “Orion”. According to Navy officials, leveraging the experience and technology of the successful P-3C “Orion” with the needs of the fleet, the P-8A is designed to be combat-capable, and to improve an operator’s ability to efficiently conduct anti-submarine warfare; anti-surface warfare; and intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance missions.

Serving in the Navy means Howell is part of a world that is taking on new importance in America’s focus on rebuilding military readiness, strengthening alliances and reforming business practices in support of the National Defense Strategy.

“We need a Navy to keep us safe from terrorists, cyber threats and others who would do us harm,” said Howell.

With more than 90 percent of all trade traveling by sea, and 95 percent of the world’s international phone and internet traffic carried through fiber optic cables lying on the ocean floor, Navy officials continue to emphasize that the prosperity and security of the United States is directly linked to a strong and ready Navy.

According to Chief of Naval Operations Adm. Mike Gilday, four priorities will focus efforts on sailors, readiness, capabilities, and capacity.

“For 245 years, in both calm and rough waters, our Navy has stood the watch to protect the homeland, preserve freedom of the seas, and defend our way of life,” said Gilday. “The decisions and investments we make this decade will set the maritime balance of power for the rest of this century. We can accept nothing less than success.”

There are many accomplishments that come with military service, and Howell is most proud of earning the rank of petty officer third class.

“It required a lot of studying and passing an exam,” said Howell. “I get to grow in leadership as well as teaching other sailors who are coming in like I was.”

As Howell and other sailors continue to train, they take pride in serving their country in the United States Navy.

“It’s an honor keeping both my family and country safe,” added Howell

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