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    In the Spotlight

    Sailor in the Spotlight

    Photo By Petty Officer 2nd Class Josh Cote | 210629-N-UJ449-1008 NAVAL AIR STATION SIGONELLA, Italy (June 29, 2020) Naval Air...... read more read more



    Story by Megan Mills 

    Naval Air Station Sigonella

    Mountains. Ice caps. Ocean waves--these are just some of the views that Naval Air Crewman (Operator) 2nd Class Christian Ortiz enjoys while flying in a Navy Poseidon P-8 maritime patrol aircraft.

    Ortiz, originally from San Tan Valley, Arizona, is an acoustic operator with the Patrol Squadron (VP) 40 “Fighting Marlins” currently rotationally deployed to Naval Air Station (NAS) Sigonella.

    VP-40 is a P-8A Poseidon multi-mission maritime aircraft squadron that conducts anti-submarine and anti-surface warfare, intelligence, surveillance, reconnaissance, and humanitarian response.

    Ortiz’s duties change depending on whether he is in the air or on the ground.

    “Essentially, our system translates sounds into something I can read, and I’ll read that to see if there’s any submarines in the water,” said Ortiz. He also operates the camera to look at visual targets on land.

    When he’s not flying, however, he supports the Aviation Maintenance Administrationman in the squadron.

    “When I am not doing flight operations I maintain people’s logbooks, so essentially I keep track of everyone’s flight hours,” he explained. “As aviators, we hold and cherish our flight hours. The more hours you get the more senior you are, and I just make sure everyone’s is right and log it down.”

    When asked why he originally joined the Navy, Ortiz chuckled and said, “It’s been a long time. I don’t think I had a reason. It was just kind of a whim.”

    Nevertheless, he’s happy with the trajectory his career has taken.

    “First, we have a candidate school for air crewman, then “A” school, then “C” school, then Patrol Squadron (VP) 30 where they essentially train us to be safe on planes, then we go to a command like VP-40 and they train us how to do our jobs.”

    In his time with VP-40, he helped with the transition from the legacy P-3C Orion aircraft to the P-8A Poseidon. The transition represented a technological leap from the propellers of the P-3 to the jet engines of the P-8 paired with the most sophisticated maritime patrol technology available.

    When Ortiz isn’t in the air or keeping logbooks, he spends his time mentoring and training junior Sailors to qualify as far as they can for their paygrade.

    Based on his positive experience with VP-40, Ortiz currently plans to stay in the Navy.

    “I’ve enjoyed myself. This is my third deployment with these guys, and they make people work harder. If this is as hard as it gets, I can definitely do 20 years.”

    Unfortunately, the nature of Ortiz’s work means that he hasn’t been able to see much of Sicily on this deployment yet. Instead, he enjoys his free time by playing video games like Overwatch on a computer that he built from scratch.

    While flying, he still enjoys his favorite part of the job--the views from the windows of the P-8s.

    “The waves look a lot bigger when you are flying at 200 ft. They look huge,” said Ortiz.



    Date Taken: 07.01.2021
    Date Posted: 07.08.2021 08:32
    Story ID: 400497
    Location: SIGONELLA, IT 
    Hometown: SAN TAN VALLEY, AZ, US

    Web Views: 42
    Downloads: 0