OAK HARBOR, Wash. – Lt. j.g. Peyton Strawn, a native of Memphis, Tennessee, joined the Navy as a call to service and a desire to fulfill that call.
Now, three years later, Strawn serves as a pilot with the “The Grey Knights” of Maritime Patrol and Reconnaissance Squadron 46, working with the Navy’s cutting-edge maritime patrol and reconnaissance aircraft at Naval Air Station Whidbey Island, Washington.
“This command is an awesome command to be a part of," said Strawn. "This is my first operational squadron, and I have been welcomed in as a member of the 'Grey Knight' family instantly. I wake up every day with a drive to do better, and I'm surrounded by a group of people who push me to be the best I can be."
Strawn, a 2012 graduate of Briarcrest Christian High School, with VP-46, a high-tech maritime patrol and reconnaissance squadron, is tasked with monitoring the world’s oceans in the state-of-the-art P-8A “Poseidon.”
Strawn is also a 2016 graduate of the United States Naval Academy.
“I’m responsible for the safety of the aircraft as well as the crew,” said Strawn.
Strawn credits success in the Navy to many of the lessons learned in Memphis.
“Growing up in Memphis, I learned to never give up and to never let my failures keep me down,” said Strawn. "Whether it was in school or sports I quickly learned that your shortcomings don't define who you are. What really matters is what you take away from the situations life puts you in."
VP-46's primary mission is to conduct maritime patrol and reconnaissance as well as long-range anti-submarine warfare, anti-surface warfare and intelligence gathering missions. They deploy around the world to monitor the world’s oceans wherever they are needed.
The P-8A Poseidon, the Navy’s newest maritime, patrol and reconnaissance aircraft, is a replacement aircraft for the legacy P-3C “Orion”. According to Navy officials, leveraging the experience and technology of the successful P-3C “Orion” with the needs of the fleet, the P-8A is designed to be combat-capable, and to improve an operator’s ability to efficiently conduct anti-submarine warfare; anti-surface warfare; and intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance missions.
As the Navy transitions to the full capacity with the P-8A “Poseidon”, the aircraft continues the work- horse tradition established by the P-3C “Orion”. The P-8A has a planned state-of-the-art open architecture mission system and next-generation sensors. These capabilities give warfighters added protection. The aircraft empowers the fleet with more combat capability, responsiveness, and interoperability with traditional manned forces and evolving unmanned sensors. The P-8A “Poseidon” has significant growth potential, with planned, phased-in technological improvements that extend global reach, payload capacity and higher-operating altitude.
“The P-8A is the newest maritime asset that the Navy has,” said Strawn. “There is so much new technology and equipment. As a newly transitioned squadron we are getting to see first hand just how far the technology has taken us. It is going to be awesome to get use the P-8A in operational settings across the world.”
Serving in the Navy means Strawn is part of a world that is taking on new importance in America’s focus on rebuilding military readiness, strengthening alliances and reforming business practices in support of the National Defense Strategy.
A key element of the Navy the nation needs is tied to the fact that America is a maritime nation, and that the nation’s prosperity is tied to the ability to operate freely on the world’s oceans. More than 70 percent of the Earth’s surface is covered by water; 80 percent of the world’s population lives close to a coast; and 90 percent of all global trade by volume travels by sea.
“Our priorities center on people, capabilities and processes, and will be achieved by our focus on speed, value, results and partnerships,” said Secretary of the Navy Richard V. Spencer. “Readiness, lethality and modernization are the requirements driving these priorities.”
Though there are many ways for sailors to earn distinction in their command, community and career, Strawn is most proud of being designated as a Naval aviator.
“It took years of strenuous studying and hard work in order to complete flight school,” said Strawn. "I was studying harder for my flight events than I was for a lot of my classes in school."
As a member of one of the U.S. Navy’s most relied upon assets, Strawn and other sailors know they are part of a legacy that will last beyond their lifetimes contributing to the Navy the nation needs.
“Serving in the Navy means I have the chance to make a difference around the world, and help preserve a better life for my family and those around me,” said Strawn.