A 2017 Randall High School graduate and Amarillo, Texas, native is serving with a U.S. Navy team that supports one of the Navy’s most advanced aircraft, one with an important mission: keeping watch over the skies and oceans of the world.
Airman Cameron Dinga is a Naval aircrewman (mechanical) serving with Carrier Airborne Early Warning Squadron 120, which operates out of Norfolk, Virginia. As a Naval aircrewman, Dinga is responsible for checking and performing in-fight mechanical and electrical work.
Dinga credits success in the Navy to many of the lessons learned growing up in Amarillo.
“I was a wrestler when I was younger,” said Dinga. “I learned to put in hard work to reap the rewards.”
The Hawkeye takes off from and lands aboard Navy aircraft carriers at sea. Using powerful radar and an array of advanced sensors, the twin-turboprop aircraft and its crew of five can remain in the air for hours, scanning the skies, detecting potential airborne and surface threats and relaying real-time information to other Navy aircraft and ships operating in the area.
Navy aircraft provide the Navy with a variety of other capabilities as well, including the ability to conduct search and rescue operations, communications relay, close air support coordination and drug interdiction. The Hawkeye can fly at nearly 350 mph at altitudes up to 30,000 feet.
A key element of the Navy the nation needs is tied to the fact that America is a maritime nation, according to Navy officials, 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.
Dinga is playing an important part in America’s focus on rebuilding military readiness, strengthening alliances and reforming business practices in support of National Defense Strategy.
“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, Dinga is most proud of graduating Survival Evasion Resistance and Escape School.
“It’s a mental thing that you have to be strong to get through,” said Dinga.
According to Navy officials, with just a handful of sailors assigned to the team, jobs are highly specialized and demand each sailor’s utmost efforts to keep each part of the Hawkeye and Greyhound communities running smoothly. This includes training new aviators, maintaining airframes and engines, or handling and flying the aircraft.
As a member of one of the U.S. Navy’s most relied-upon assets, Dinga and other sailors know they are part of a legacy that will last beyond their lifetimes providing the Navy the nation needs.
“I’m challenging myself by sering in the Navy,” added Dinga. “College wasn’t for me. I wanted to try something new. I get to serve my country at the same time.”