BEAVERCREEK, Ohio (WDTN) —Lieutenant Commander David Manges, the son of a Beavercreek native, serves the U.S. Navy assigned to Strike Fighter Squadron One Zero Six in support of the F/A-18 Super Hornet.
Manges, a 2007 Embry–Riddle Aeronautical University graduate and a 2021 U.S. Naval War College graduate, joined the Navy 15 years ago.
“Since I was about four-years-old, I wanted nothing more than to be a Navy fighter pilot,” Manges said. “I’m also an Army brat, so I grew up with a sense of patriotism and a desire to serve.”
The Super Hornet is one of the most advanced aircraft in the world, according to Navy officials. The aircraft takes off from and lands on Navy aircraft carriers at sea and is capable of conducting air-to-air combat as well as striking targets on land.
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.
Since USS Langley’s commissioning 100 years ago, the nation’s aircraft carriers and embarked carrier air wings have projected power, sustained sea control, bolstered deterrence, provided humanitarian assistance and disaster relief, and maintained enduring commitments worldwide.
“The aircraft carrier is our U.S. Navy’s centerpiece, our flagship, and a constant reminder to the rest of the world of our enduring maritime presence and influence,” Rear Adm. James P. Downey, USN, Program Executive Officer Aircraft Carriers, said. “These ships touch every part of our Navy’s mission to project power, ensure sea control, and deter our adversaries.”
Serving in the Navy means Manges is part of a world that is taking on new importance in America’s focus on strengthening alliances, modernizing capabilities, increasing capacities and maintaining military readiness in support of the National Defense Strategy.
“The Navy maintains free and open maritime commons worldwide,” Manges said. “We provide a capability for power projection from the sea.”
With more than 90 percent of all trade traveling by sea, and 95 percent of the world’s international phone and internet traffic carried through fiber optic cables lying on the ocean floor, Navy officials continue to emphasize the importance of accelerating America’s advantage at sea.
“Maintaining the world’s best Navy is an investment in the security and prosperity of the United States, as well as the stability of our world,” Adm. Mike Gilday, Chief of Naval Operations said.
“The U.S. Navy—forward deployed and integrated with all elements of national power—deters conflict, strengthens our alliances and partnerships, and guarantees free and open access to the world’s oceans. As the United States responds to the security environment through integrated deterrence, our Navy must continue to deploy forward and campaign with a ready, capable, combat-credible fleet.”
Manges and the sailors they serve with have many opportunities to achieve accomplishments during their military service.
“My proudest Navy accomplishment is my selection for command of an operational F/A-18 squadron,” Manges said. “I was selected in March 2021. I’m going through requalification now, before I return to the fleet.”
As Manges and other sailors continue to train and perform missions, they take pride in serving their country in the United States Navy.
“To me, serving in the Navy is more of a calling than a job,” Manges added.
“As I said before, I have wanted to be a fighter pilot since I was a kid. It means a lot to be able to see that dream come true. It also means having a sense of purpose. I get to defend our nation.”