A 2016 William Chrisman High School graduate and Sugar Creek native is serving with a U.S. Navy electronic attack squadron that flies one of the Navy’s newest and most technologically-advanced aircraft, the EA-18G Growler.
Airman Kathryn Rice is an aviation structural mechanic with the “Black Ravens” of Electronic Attack Squadron (VAQ) 135, one of 14 Navy electronic attack squadrons based in Whidbey Island, Washington.
As an aviation structural mechanic, Rice is responsible for maintenance checks on the aircraft.
“I look for loose or broken pieces and if I find any, I tell the maintenance technicians to fix them,” Rice said. She added, “I'm 19 and I get to work with jets, and I think that is so cool.”
Taking off from and landing on Navy aircraft carriers, as well as supporting expeditionary land-based operations around the world, Growler crewmembers engage in electronic warfare, one of the most important components of modern air combat, according to Navy sources.
The electronic warfare mission involves jamming enemy radar and communications systems to render air defenses ineffective.
“I like it here because everyone is very approachable,” said Rice. “In some commands it's very awkward, but here I feel like everyone is very close. I feel like the friendships are very genuine--we develop strong bonds. A lot of my best friends are here.”