LEMOORE, Calif. — A 2009 Silver Stage High School graduate and Silver Springs native is currently serving with the U.S. Navy’s Strike Fighter Squadron Fourteen, also known as the “Tophatters,” at Naval Air Station Lemoore.
Petty Officer 3rd Class Timothy Steber is an aviation electronics technician with the squadron, which the Navy designates as VFA-14, and works with the Navy¹s most lethal and versatile strike fighter aircraft, the F/A-18E Super Hornet.
“I maintain the computer systems of the Super Hornets,” said Steber.
The Super Hornet takes off from and lands on Navy aircraft carriers and is capable of conducting air-to-air combat as well as air-to-surface combat. It’s approximately 61 feet long, has a max loaded weight of 66,000 pounds, and a max speed of 1,190 miles per hour.
Operating from the sea aboard aircraft carriers, the Super Hornet gives the Navy the power to protect America¹s 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 country¹s permission to operate within its borders.
“I get to learn a lot and I find the aircraft very interesting to work with,” said Steber.
Steber said he’s proud of the work he’s doing as part of the squadron’s 217-member team, helping to protect America on the world’s oceans.
“Every component of the aircraft runs through our system,” said Steber.
Sailors’ jobs are highly varied in VFA-14. Approximately 24 officers and 193 enlisted men and women make up and keep all parts of the squadron
running smoothly — this includes everything from maintaining aircraft, airframes and engines, to processing paperwork, handling weaponry and flying the aircraft.
“VFA-14 is made up of a group of hardworking and skilled individuals whom work exceptionally well together,” said Cmdr. Tommy Locke, VFA-14’s commanding officer. “Being a part of a squadron with as much history as VFA-14 instills a lot of pride and honor in our team and in the work we do. Everyone knows their job and what is expected of them to complete our mission.”
The Tophatters are the Navy’s oldest active squadron, having formed in 1919. Since the squadron¹s inception it has flown 23 different types of aircraft, changed designations 14 times, and operated from 20 different aircraft carriers.
“I’ve seen some neat places while serving in the Navy,” said Steber. “Working on the flight deck is always exciting.”