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Vigilantes meet Super Hornets in St. Louis

VFA-151 pilot and Boeing employee

Boeing

During their visit to St. Louis, VFA-151 pilots learned what it takes to build the Super Hornet directly from Boeing employees who work in F/A-18 assembly.

With only a few months left before their transition from F/A-18C Hornets to F/A-18E Super Hornets, the “Vigilantes” of VFA-151 based in Lemoore, Calif., landed in St. Louis following an eight-month deployment, for a tour of the production line, where they had the opportunity to learn about their new jets and to meet some of the people who build them.

"There’s always a level of trust that has to get built," said Lt. Bryce Holden, VFA-151 pilot. "Every day, we place our lives in the hands of the equipment that they’re manufacturing. The aircraft we’re flying now are over 20 years old. And to know that the continuing legacy of a product -- from the Hornet to the Super Hornet -- is being brought forward, and seeing how much they care about what they’re doing, makes me feel comfortable when I go to get into one of these jets."

Serving as yet another reminder of the layers of relationships impacted by the F/A-18 program was the reunion of Lt. Cmdr. Jason Dalby with several members of his family, including his parents and brother, who had not seen him in more than a year. Dalby’s family drove in from Hannibal, Mo., to greet him and to participate in a portion of the factory tour.

"We’re very proud of his service," said his mother Robyn Dalby. "And the fact that he’s a pilot -- I mean, how awesome is that? A lot of pride, a lot of happiness -- thankfulness that he’s safe -- and joy."