Braidwood native helps keep Navy aircraft flying

PETTY OFFICER 3rd Class Sylina Taylor, RCHS graduate, is an aviation electronics technician with the U.S. Navy Black Ravens of Electronic Attack Squadron 135.
Kayla Good
Navy Office of Community Outreach

A 2012 Reed-Custer High School graduate and Braidwood native is serving with a U.S. Navy electronic attack squadron that flies one of the Navy's newest and most technologically-advanced aircraft, the EA-18G Growler.

Petty Officer 3rd Class Sylina Taylor is an aviation electronics technician with the Black Ravens of Electronic Attack Squadron (VAQ) 135, one of 14 Navy electronic attack squadrons based in Whidbey Island, Wash.

As an aviation electronics technician, Taylor is responsible for maintaining radar, communications, navigation and software that allows the aircraft to operate.

“My job is definitely not boring,” said Taylor. “I get to see different things everyday which keeps me on my toes.”

Taking off from and landing on Navy aircraft carriers, as well as supporting expeditionary land-based operations around the world, Growler crewmembers engage in electronic warfare, one of the most important components of modern air combat, according to Navy sources.

The EA-18G Growler is the fourth major variant of the F/A-18 family of aircraft that combines the proven F/A-18F Super Hornet platform with a sophisticated electronic warfare suite, complete with advanced receivers, jamming pods and satellite communications.

The electronic warfare mission involves jamming enemy radar and communications systems to render air defenses ineffective.

“We have a good work environment with the Black Ravens,” said Taylor. “We have good teamwork among the sailors.”

As a member of one of the Navy's squadrons with the newest aircraft platforms, Taylor and other VAQ 135 sailors are proud to be part of a warfighting team that readily defends America at all times.

"We're in the warfighting business, and we're here to win," said Capt. Tabb Stringer, Commodore of Commander, Electronic Attack Wing, U.S. Pacific Fleet. "We operate the most advanced and capable electronic attack aircraft in the world and our sailors are the most highly trained, innovative, and critical thinking teammates I have ever worked with."

Sailors' jobs are highly varied at VAQ 135, according to Navy officials. Approximately 65 officers, 400 enlisted men and women, and 110 civilian contractors make up and keep all parts of the squadron running smoothly -- this includes everything from maintaining airframes and engines, to processing paperwork, handling weaponry, and flying the aircraft.

Serving in the Navy, Taylor is learning about being a more responsible leader, sailor and citizen through handling numerous responsibilities.

"Serving in the Navy to me means stability,” added Taylor. “I get a lot of opportunity that I wouldn't outside of the military.”