An official website of the United States government
Here's how you know
A .mil website belongs to an official U.S. Department of Defense organization in the United States.
A lock (lock ) or https:// means you’ve safely connected to the .mil website. Share sensitive information only on official, secure websites.

NEWS | Aug. 25, 2022

Profiles in Professionalism: Naval Aircrewman (Operator) 1st Class Kat Citta

By Chief Mass Communication Specialist (Select) Chelsea Milburn, Commander, Naval Air Force Reserve Public Affairs

Naval Aircrewman (Operator) 1st Class Kat Citta is a Selected Reserve (SELRES) Sailor, serving on active-duty orders with the “Broad Arrows” of Patrol Squadron (VP) 62, where she currently serves as the safety and Naval Air Training and Operations (NATOPS) Reserve leading petty officer.
Citta joined the Navy Reserve and attended recruit training in 2015. After completing her “A” school in Pensacola, Florida, she returned to her hometown of Cocoa, Florida to drill with Navy Reserve Center (NRC) Orlando. After a few months at the NRC, Citta received official orders to VP-62 in Jacksonville.

“When I checked into VP-62, they told me that they would put me on orders to move to Jacksonville, go to VP-30 for training and then come back to VP-62 to get fully qualified,” said Citta. “Once I was fully qualified, I just decided to stay as long as I could.”

While Citta said she initially expected the move and assignment to be short-lived, her opportunities with VP-62 have continued right up to today.

“I am a unique Reserve Sailor in the sense that while I am still SELRES on paper, I have been on back-to-back active duty orders since 2017,” said Citta. “This has been my primary job since then.”

Citta’s squadron recently transitioned from operating the P-3C Orion to the P-8A Poseidon, but their essential mission remains the same.

“My primary job has been anti-submarine warfare on the P-3C Orion, and now the P-8A Poseidon,” said Citta. “My position on the plane as an acoustic operator is to search, locate, track and attack enemy submarines via frequencies we see with our sonobuoys. I, along with the rest of our crew, will take all of our different pieces of information and communicate to put all the pieces together and complete the mission.”

Citta said VP-62’s operational tempo allows for more opportunities to better connect with her shipmates at the squadron, leaving her with a sense of belonging, teamwork and esprit de corps.

“What I like about working at my command is the camaraderie,” said Citta. “I’ve been able to make plenty of friends across departments, including maintenance, admin, intelligence, and of course, on the aircrew side.”

Citta has had many experiences in her five years of service, but one stands out among the rest.

“The most memorable moment of my Reserve career so far was Survival, Evasion, Resistance and Escape (SERE) School,” said Citta. “This is a school that all aircrew must complete. It’s a two-week long course where you learn all about surviving if your plane goes down in enemy territory. It was the best training that I absolutely never want to do again, but it makes you respect the men and women who have been POWs even that much more.”

Citta said she’s grateful for the many opportunities she’s received as a Navy Reserve Sailor.

“The way everything panned out for me specifically is something I didn’t expect,” said Citta. “I joined in 2015 expecting to be a full-on Navy Reserve Sailor, drilling once a month and two weeks every year. I was in school to become a veterinary technician when I was asked to move to Jacksonville. I thought that would be my path. Then, I came here and the Navy ended up giving me so many opportunities and benefits I didn’t think I’d have. Staying a Navy Reserve Sailor on paper gives me just a little more flexibility than active duty in the sense that I don’t have to pick up and move every couple years. I can find a job in the civilian world whenever I’d like, but having the Navy Reserve in my back pocket has really made a difference.”