Las Vegas native keeps Navy wing flying

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Navy photograph by PO2 Theodore Quintana

Petty Officer 2nd Class Jason Henderson

A 2014 Eldorado High School graduate and Las Vegas, Nev., native is serving in the U.S. Navy aboard Naval Air Station Jacksonville, home to the U.S. Navy’s newest maritime, patrol and reconnaissance aircraft.

Petty Officer 2nd Class Jason Henderson is a naval air crewman (operator) serving with Commander, Patrol and Reconnaissance Wing 11 (CPRW-11).

A Navy naval aircrewman (operator) is responsible for overall safety of the plane for warfare.

“I love traveling and we go to some cool places,” said Henderson.

Henderson credits success in the Navy to many of the lessons learned in Las Vegas.

The P-8A Poseidon is a multi-mission aircraft that is replacing the legacy P-3C Orion. Those who fly in the P-8A hunt for submarines and surface ships, as well as conduct intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance missions.

The P-8A operates with a smaller crew than the P-3C, and it also delivers an extended global reach, greater payload capacity, and higher operating altitude. It has an open-systems architecture with significant growth potential.

According to Navy officials, there are more than 15 Navy patrol squadrons in the U.S. and eight of those squadrons belong to Wing Eleven, headquartered in Jacksonville, Florida. This means that those who serve here are part of the first “Super Wing” in Maritime Patrol and Reconnaissance history, ready to deploy and defend America and allies around the world.

Wing Eleven recently added the Navy’s newest squadron to its arsenal: Unmanned Patrol Squadron Nineteen (VP-19), flying the MQ-4C Triton Unmanned Aerial System (UAS). The P-8A and MQ-4C will serve as the future of the Maritime Patrol and Reconnaissance Force, according to Navy officials.

When asked about his plans following his assumption of command ceremony in June, Capt. Craig T. Mattingly, Commodore, Patrol and Reconnaissance Wing 11 said, “Our focus will be to take care of our most precious assets, the men and women of (Wing Eleven). We will sustain current readiness of our P-8A squadrons and reserve P-3C squadron while incorporating the MQ-4C Triton into the maritime patrol and reconnaissance force.”

Though there are many ways for a sailor to earn distinction in their command, community, and career, Henderson is most proud of becoming an instructor for the new sailors at the command.

“I like teaching and watching the sailor’s progress,” Henderson said.

As a member of one of the U.S. Navy’s most relied upon assets, Henderson and other sailors know they are part of a legacy that will last beyond their lifetimes, one that will provide a critical component of the Navy the nation needs.

“It is a sense of accomplishment and pride knowing I am representing our country,” said Henderson.