Lancaster native serves with Navy Strike Fighter Squadron

Petty Officer 3rd Class Nicholas Goldsmith (Navy photograph by PO1 Tim Miller)

A 2014 Lancaster High School graduate and Lancaster, Calif., native is currently serving with a U.S. Navy strike fighter squadron which flies one of the world’s most advanced warplanes.

Petty Officer 3rd Class Nicholas Goldsmith is an aviation structural mechanic with the Fighting Redhawks of VFA 22, which operates out of Naval Air Station Lemoore, Calif. A Navy aviation structural mechanic is responsible for the repair and maintenance of the ejection seats and environmental control systems on the aircraft.

“My parents taught me to be accountable no matter what,” Goldsmith said. “They taught me to be the type of worker that people can trust in. It has made me much more cautious and I think things through. I am very safety-oriented. I have become more accountable in a leadership-wise situation.”

Members of VFA 22 work with the F/A 18 Super Hornet, one of the most advanced aircraft 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 lbs., 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, is the heart of Naval Aviation,” said Capt. James S. Bates, Deputy Commodore, Strike Fighter Wing, U.S. Pacific. “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. 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.”

Goldsmith has military ties with family members who have previously served and is honored to carry on the family tradition.

“My grandpa was in the Air Force,” said Goldsmith. “Growing up, he brought pictures from work and took me out to the base. I was able to see the aircraft and pilots, which inspired me. I thought, ‘that’s what I want to be when I grow up.’”

Goldsmith is also proud of receiving a Safety Crow in November for noticing one of the safety pins missing from the tail hook as part of the aircraft.

As a member of one of the U.S. Navy’s most relied-upon assets, Goldsmith 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 gives me pride and a sense of accomplishment in securing freedom for the country,” Goldsmith said. “I get to experience different cultures while providing security for my family. So, I have stability and patriotism.”