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The Next Generation: Pembroke Pines Native Serves With U.S. Naval Aviation Warfighters

By Rick Burke, Navy Office of Community Outreach

June 21, 2024

Lt. J.G. Brandon Frantz, a native of Pembroke Pines, Florida, is serving in the U.S. Navy assigned to Training Squadron (VT) 21 where Naval Aviators learn the skills they need to fly missions around the world. Frantz joined the Navy three years ago and earned a Bachelor's Degree in Political Science from the U.S. Naval Academy in 2021. “I always wanted to join the Navy even as a child because I was infatuated with Naval Aviation,” said Frantz. "I always knew I wanted to fly but wasn’t sure how I would be able to. Growing up in Fort Lauderdale on the beach, I just knew in one way, shape, or form, that I eventually would because I always wanted to be an aviator. I set up an appointment with the Navy and started on my journey."

Skills and values learned in the Navy are similar to those found in Pembroke Pines.

“My parents instilled in me that your name and reputation leave a lasting impression on everyone that you meet,” said Frantz. “You need to treat people the way that you want to be treated. I grew up in South Florida around diversity and people from all walks of life. It's helped me with camaraderie and respecting everyone. I also learned to never give up. I went to a high school with reduced lunches. Knowing that people in high school had never made it to the U.S. Naval Academy helped me become a better person and strive for more."

Today, Frantz serves as a student pilot assigned to VT 21, a U.S. Navy Strike Jet Training Squadron located at Naval Air Station Kingsville, Texas.

“I enjoy being surrounded by a lot of “Type A” personalities who are never complacent and try to be better than they were yesterday,” said Frantz. “Being around that makes you a better person.”

The Aviation Squadron’s primary mission is to train future Naval Aviators to fly as well as instill leadership and officer values, Navy officials explained. Students must complete many phases of Flight Training to graduate, including Aviation Preflight Indoctrination, Primary Flight Training and Advanced Flight Training. After successfully completing the rigorous program, Naval Aviators earn their coveted “Wings of Gold.”

After graduation, pilots continue their training to learn how to fly a specific aircraft, such as the Navy’s F/A-18 Super Hornet Fighter Attack Jet, the F-35 Lightning Strike Fighter Jet or the SH-60 Seahawk Helicopter. These aircraft take off from and land on Navy Aircraft Carriers at sea.

Navy Aircraft Carriers are designed for a 50-year service life. When the air wing is embarked, the ship carries more than 70 Attack Fighter Jets, Helicopters and other Aircraft, all of which take off from and land aboard the carrier at sea. With more than 5,000 sailors serving aboard, the Aircraft Carrier is a self-contained mobile airport.

Aircraft Carriers are often the first response to a global crisis because of their ability to operate freely in international waters anywhere on the world’s oceans.

With 90% of global commerce traveling by sea and access to the internet relying on the security of undersea fiber optic cables, Navy officials continue to emphasize that the prosperity of the United States is directly linked to recruiting and retaining talented people from across the rich fabric of America.

Frantz serves a Navy that operates far forward, around the world and around the clock, promoting the nation's prosperity and security.

“We will earn and reinforce the trust and confidence of the American people every day,” said Adm. Lisa Franchetti, Chief of Naval Operations. “Together we will deliver the Navy the nation needs.”

Frantz has many opportunities to achieve accomplishments during military service.

“My proudest accomplishment is developing the confidence and skills needed to operate in the busiest airspace in the country in San Diego and navigate properly without any incidents,” said Frantz.

Frantz can take pride in serving America through military service.

“Serving gives me a sense of purpose,” said Frantz. “It makes me feel like you are making a difference in being a role model for students in high school who still aren’t sure what they want to do after graduation.”

Frantz is grateful to others for helping make a Navy career possible.

“I would like to thank my dad, my wife, and my kids for giving me the drive to strive in the Aviation Industry,” added Frantz.

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