//Valdosta native supports U.S. Navy aviation missions globally

Valdosta native supports U.S. Navy aviation missions globally

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VALDOSTA – A Lowndes High graduate and Valdosta native is supporting the U.S. Navy aviation squadron on missions around the globe.


Chief Petty Officer Samantha Campbell, a native of Valdosta, Georgia, serves the U.S. Navy assigned to Fleet Logistics Support Squadron (VRC) 40.

Campbell graduated in 2007 from Lowndes High School. Campbell earned a bachelor’s degree in psychology from American Military University in 2023.

The skills and values needed to succeed in the Navy are similar to those found in Valdosta.

“Everybody always says, ‘You’re so kind’ and ‘You have great manners’,” said Campbell. “That comes from how I was raised. Growing up in Valdosta taught me the value of home training and having respect for everyone.”

Campbell joined the Navy 14 years ago. Today, Campbell serves as an aviation structural mechanic-safety equipment.

“I joined the Navy to pay homage to my grandfather and great-grandfather, who were also in the Navy,” said Campbell. “I wanted to carry on that family tradition. I also wanted new experiences.”

Members of VRC 40, also known as the “Rawhides,” fly and maintain the C-2A Greyhound, which provides high-priority logistics support to carrier strike groups around the world. A versatile support workhorse for the Navy for more than 60 years, the Greyhound is capable of taking off from and landing aboard aircraft carriers at sea to deliver cargo, mail and passengers. Most of the Greyhounds flown today by VRC 40 have been in service for at least 30 years.

The Greyhound, which is nearly 57 feet long with an 81-foot wingspan, is an approved special warfare asset capable of airdropping a SEAL platoon’s combat rubber raiding craft and deploying the platoon, allowing SEALs to operate more closely to enemy shores. The aircraft can also be used for search and rescue operations to airdrop life rafts and other essentials to people in need.

This year commemorates 50 years of women flying in the U.S. Navy. In 1973, the first eight women began flight school in Pensacola, Florida. Six of them, known as “The First Six,” earned their “Wings of Gold” one year later. Among them was Lt. j.g Barbara Allen Rainey, the Navy’s first woman to qualify as a naval aviator. Rainey flew the Greyhound’s predecessor, the C-1, with the VR-30 squadron. Over the past 50 years, the Navy has expanded its roles for women to lead and serve globally and today our women aviators project power from the sea in every type of Navy, Marine Corps and Coast Guard aircraft. According to Navy officials, our nation and our Navy are stronger because of their service.

Serving in the Navy means Campbell is part of a team 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.

“The Navy contributes to national defense by having a presence everywhere in the world,” said Campbell. “We’re the world’s greatest Navy. Our training and our sailors are always mission-ready.”

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 United States is directly linked to trained sailors and a strong Navy.

Campbell has many opportunities to achieve accomplishments during military service.

“I’m most proud of being selected for chief petty officer,” said Campbell. “To be part of a brother and sisterhood in the Chiefs Mess is an honor because not everyone attains the rank of chief petty officer.”

As Campbell and other sailors continue to train and perform missions, they take pride in serving their country in the U.S. Navy.

“Serving in the Navy means the world to me,” said Campbell. “Having the ability to lead sailors to accomplish the Navy’s mission is a blessing and an honor. I love to help people. That’s why I love the Navy so much. I love being able to help the sailors.”

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

“I want to thank my mother, Lisa Bean, and my grandparents, Linda and Richard Bean,” added Campbell. “My mom has always supported me and my family, from before I joined the Navy and now during deployments. My grandparents have always supported and encouraged me. My grandfather is my hero. He’s a Vietnam vet and he has a Purple Heart.”