Carson City native training to be Navy pilot

Ensign John Suter II

Ensign John Suter II
Anna-Liesa Hussey/U.S. Navy

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Ensign John Suter II, a native of Carson City, is serving in the U.S. Navy where naval aviators learn the skills they need to fly missions around the world.

Suter joined the Navy one year ago and earned a bachelor's degree in economics from the U.S. Naval Academy in 2023.

“I wanted to continue the family tradition of being a military pilot,” said Suter. “My father, Lawrence Suter, was a naval aviator and my grandfather, John Lindbergh Suter I, was a fighter pilot in WWII.”

Today, Suter serves as a student pilot assigned to Training Air Wing Four (TRAWING 4) located at Naval Air Station Corpus Christi, Texas. TRAWING 4 comprises four training squadrons that conduct Primary, Intermediate, and Advanced flight training for Navy, Marine Corps and Coast Guard pilots.

“I enjoy being around good people here who can take a joke and not be too serious,” said Suter. “We all should just live and let be."

The air training program focuses on the increased complexity of today’s aircraft. 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 U.S. is directly linked to recruiting and retaining talented people from across the rich fabric of America.

Suter 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.”

Suter has many opportunities to achieve accomplishments during military service.

“I’m most proud of winning the hot dog competition at the Patuxent River flight qualifications,” said Suter. “I ate a total of 25 hot dogs. Winning the competition taught me perseverance and to not give up until you are the last man standing.”

Suter can take pride in serving America through military service.

“Serving in the Navy is a very fulfilling and rewarding experience,” said Suter II. “I do this for my family, friends and for everyone who would love to join the military but does not have the opportunity to do so.”

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

“I’m grateful to my other grandfather who now lives in Niceville, Florida, for taking me to his aviation club,” added Suter. “This club is about three dozen military veteran pilots that have flown any aircraft you could imagine. There was even a CIA pilot. All of them had a wealth of information but most importantly, they told me that although the military is hard sometimes, just make sure you have fun doing it.”


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