The Journal Gazette
Monday, August 30, 2021 1:02 pm

Fort Wayne native serves at Naval Air Station Jacksonville

Lt. Jill Brown, Navy Office of Community Outreach

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – A Fort Wayne, Indiana, native is serving with the U.S. Navy’s cutting-edge maritime patrol and reconnaissance aircraft squadron in Jacksonville, Florida.

“I joined the Navy to help shape my life in areas I felt a typical 9-to-5 could not,” said Kinzer. “My family was also an inspiration for me to join. I played baseball all of my life and wanted to always play for Team USA, so this was my way to show representation.”

Kinzer serves with Patrol Squadron Sixteen, 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 Fort Wayne, Kinzer attended Homestead High School and graduated in 2011. Today, Kinzer finds the values in Fort Wayne similar to those needed to succeed in the military.

“It doesn't matter who you are, I'm going to treat you like family,” said Kinzer. “I'm easy going and have made lots of friends in my squadron because I’m always talking to people.”

These lessons have helped Kinzer 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 Kinzer is part of a world taking on a new importance in America’s focus on rebuilding military readiness, strengthening alliances and reforming business practices in support of the National Defense Strategy.

“We sacrifice our freedom and life to provide national security for our country,” said Kinzer.

“Knowing that I could lose my life, makes my family and country feel more protected.”

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 Kinzer is most proud of being selected for the all Navy softball team.

“It felt great to be selected,” said Kinzer. “I learned afterwards that this is a pretty big deal. After growing up playing softball, this is an honor to be recognized. I'm also proud of the relationships that I have built with all different people that I will carry with me beyond my naval career.”

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

“Serving in the Navy means to me that you’re willing to sacrifice your own freedom, and potentially life, so that others may live freely and be safe,” added Kinzer.

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