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Sat, Sept. 21

Prescott's Alger serving with the Tophatters squadron

Courtesy photo. Alger

Courtesy photo. Alger

Petty Officer 2nd Class Jacob Alger, a 2003 Rangeview High School (Aurora, Colorado) graduate and Prescott, Arizona native is currently serving with the U.S. Navy's Strike Fighter Squadron Fourteen, also known as the "Tophatters," at Naval Air Station Lemoore in California.

Alger is an aviation electrician's mate with the squadron, which the Navy designates as VFA-14, and works with the Navy's most lethal and versatile strike fighter aircraft, the F/A-18E Super Hornet.

"I work on the electrical system on the F/A18-E Super Hornet," said Alger.

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 is approximately 61 feet long, has a max loaded weight of 66,000 lbs., 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 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.

"The pride in one of the best commands on the West Coast is my favorite thing about being with the Tophatters," said Alger.

Alger said he is proud of the work he is doing as part of the squadron's 217-member team, helping to protect America on the world's oceans.

"Electricity is the basic function of all components," said Alger. "Without electricity the jets don't work."

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 squadron's inception they have flown 23 different types of aircraft, changed designations 14 times, and operated from 20 different aircraft carriers.

"My favorite thing about the Navy is all of the benefits that are offered from travel to career and leisure opportunities," said Alger.

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