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NEWS | Nov. 8, 2023

Navy Reserve Squadron VR-57 Reaches 200K Mishap-Free Flight Hours

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

Aviation is a dangerous business. From pilots and aircrew to maintainers and support rates, keeping aircraft and crews safe from takeoffs to landings takes hard work and expert coordination. In October of 2023, the “Conquistadors” of Fleet Logistics Support Squadron (VR) 57 celebrated the milestone of reaching 200,000 consecutive, mishap-free flight hours.
Naval Aircrewman Mechanical 1st Class Justin Wales said the accomplishment came as a result of the team’s coordination and trust in one another.
“It goes all the way down from maintenance making sure the plane is ready to go and things are done correctly, to all the roles of the aircrew, to the pilots who get us there,” said Wales. “For aircrewmen, we’re always helping and double checking each other. If one person is done with our role, we go and help out another.”
Wales said that being able to have confidence in each member of the team builds a high level of trust in their work.
“I’ve never had a moment where I felt I had to second guess if I would make it home to my kids when flying in one of our aircraft,” said Wales. “It’s a testament to everybody’s hard work. It really makes me value the contribution of everyone on the team. I know I can rely on everyone and not second guess anyone’s work or opinions.”
Aviation Machinist’s Mate 2nd Class Brittney Johnson echoed Wales’s sentiments about the value of the squadron’s teamwork.
“No one likes to see anyone get hurt or things go wrong,” said Johnson. “It’s a reward in itself to reach this accomplishment, knowing that we’re doing the right things. If it was me by myself, this plane could never fly. Knowing that we’re able to work together to keep the aircraft and crew safe is really meaningful. We put our own people on these flights. It’s a different type of reality check.”
Cmdr. Steve Schuette, VR-57’s commanding officer, recognized the contributions of each member of the Conquistador team, sharing his feelings about achieving the meaningful milestone through their hard work.
“I am extremely proud of our entire team for the dedication and professionalism that they displayed in reaching 200,000 Class A mishap-free flight hours,” said Schuette.  To achieve this significant milestone in the same year as our 45th anniversary means a great deal to every Conquistador and serves as a testament to our enduring commitment to the mission that we, and those who have served before us, have supported since 1978.”

VR-57, a Navy Reserve squadron flying the C-40A Clipper, is one of eleven squadrons assigned to the Navy Reserve’s Fleet Logistics Support Wing (FLSW). FLSW, with coordination by the Navy Air Logistics Office (NALO), remains the Navy’s only source of dedicated air logistics, providing critical support around the globe with the K/C-130T Hercules and C-40A Clipper.

CNAFR mans, trains and equips the Naval Air Force Reserve in order to provide enduring operational support and strategic depth to Navy forces that win in combat.