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Patriotic Article
Military

By USMC LCpl. Courtney White

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Pilot Leads Marines
(May 17, 2011)

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April 30, 2011 -- Maj. Lance Lewis, a pilot with Marine Fighter Attack Squadron 251, continuously serves his country with great pride and motivates his Marines during deployment aboard the USS Enterprise. Lewis knew since he was a young child that he wanted to be a pilot in the military.
April 30, 2011 -- Maj. Lance Lewis, a pilot with Marine Fighter Attack Squadron 251, continuously serves his country with great pride and motivates his Marines during deployment aboard the USS Enterprise. Lewis knew since he was a young child that he wanted to be a pilot in the military.
BEAUFORT, SC, (5/12/2011) -- Maj. Lance “Boil” Lewis, a pilot with Marine Fighter Attack Squadron 251, continuously serves his country with great pride and motivates his Marines during the squadron's deployment aboard the USS Enterprise.

According to Lewis, he joined the Marine Corps and stayed in because that is his passion, not because he feels like he has to. He is motivated, proud and excited to come to work every day to do his job and serve his country. His positive and friendly attitude is contagious, and those around Lewis can't help but share his enthusiasm.

Although Lewis didn't always know if he wanted to be in the Marine Corps, he did know he wanted serve his country by following in the footsteps of his father, who served as a Navy pilot, and grandfather, who served as a pilot in the Royal Australian Air Force.

Lewis attended the Air Force Academy from 1992 to 96, however, decided to be a Marine officer after noticing their pride, tradition and esprit de corps that Marines possessed.

Lewis is not only a pilot but after his day of flying, he turns to his duties as operations officer for VMFA-251 and has to coordinate with the ship's company and Carrier Air Wing One for all flights and missions.

“It is great working with Major Lewis,” said Gunnery Sgt. Nathan Natchke, the VMFA-251 operations chief. “He is a motivator who doesn't hesitate to assist other Marines with completing the mission. He is a good leader for my Marines to look up to because he's very smart and uses his past ventures and experiences as tools of education for us.”
During this deployment, the senior pilots such as Lewis led the missions in the first half of the deployment and are now letting the junior aviators lead to gain experience.

“Major Lewis has taken the time to personally train young aviators who are aspiring to provide the Marines on the ground with the best possible support,” said Capt. Scott Duncan, a Thunderbolt pilot.

With Lewis' busy schedule as a senior pilot and the operations officer he doesn't have much time to spend in the gym. However, he still maintains his first class physical fitness test and combat fitness test scores by working out in his berthing, living quarters for military personnel onboard an aircraft, using cross-fit, kettle bells and other workouts that don't require much time.

Like many of the military's service members, Lewis wouldn't be able to be where he is today without the support of his family.

“Whenever I'm having a bad day, I think of my wife to keep me going,” Lewis said. “While I'm on this ship, she is back home raising our three children all alone. Although I am gone, they all understand the importance of my service.

“Being a Thunderbolt pilot on this deployment is very rewarding because we are supporting the troops on the ground,” Lewis continued. “When ‘rubber meets the road,' we can complete a mission as efficient, if not better, than anyone else. Back on the Air Station, the Thunderbolts are the fastest to get to where we need to be. When a jet went down while aboard Fightertown in March 2010, I went from sitting in my office to airborne in less than nine minutes with the help of the Marines.”

According to Duncan, Lewis stands out because of his passion for Marines and their welfare in peacetime and combat. He conducts himself in an outstanding manner, whether on the ground or in the air.

“Maj. Lewis motivates us through his selfless mind set when it comes to training others. He executes his commander's intent without losing sight of the warrior's impact on a tactical level,” Duncan said. “He is the kind of Marine that people will tell stories about well after his time in the Corps.”

Article and photo By USMC LCpl. Courtney White
Marine Corps Air Station Beaufort
Copyright 2011

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