LT Samuel Rykaczewski
United States Navy
24th Company Officer
United States Naval Academy
LT Rykaczewski received his commission in May 2008 from the United States Naval Academy with a Bachelor of Science in Ocean Engineering. He reported to Pensacola, FL in June for Aviation Preflight Indoctrination (API), and began his flying career later that year flying the T-34C Turbo Mentor and the T-45A/C Goshawk. He earned his Wings of Gold in September 2010 and reported to NAS Oceana, VA to begin training in the F/A-18 Super Hornet. He completed flight training and carrier qualifications with the Gladiators of VFA-106 in August of 2011.
At the completion of the FRS, LT Rykaczewski reported to the Fighting Checkmates of VFA-211 in the middle of an Inter-Deployment Readiness Cycle. Six months later, the squadron deployed as part of Carrier Air Wing One aboard the USS ENTERPRISE (CVN 65) from March-November 2012, completing the ship’s final combat deployment. During the deployment, LT Rykaczewski flew combat missions in support of Operation Enduring Freedom and conducted operations throughout the 5th and 6th Fleet AORs. In his time at VFA-211, LT Rykaczewski served as the Line Division Officer, Air-to-Surface Weapons and Tactics Officer, Schedules Officer, and Public Affairs Officer. He earned his combat division lead qualification, mission commander qualification, FCF qualification, and Forward Air Controller (Airborne) (FAC(A)) qualification.
In November of 2014, LT Rykaczewski reported back to VFA-106 to serve as an instructor pilot in the Navy’s largest Fleet Replacement Squadron (FRS). He instructed replacement aircrew at all levels of experience in the F/A-18A-F Hornet/Super Hornet and fellow instructors in the T-34C Turbo Mentor. As the Strike Phase Head and one of just a handful of FAC(A) pilots in the command, he oversaw all aspects of air-to-surface training for replacement aircrew. He also served as the squadron’s T-34C Program Manager, Student Control Officer, and Division Officer Leadership Course (DIVOLC) Program Manager.
LT Rykaczewski has amassed over 1,900 flight hours in 4 Navy aircraft. His awards include the Air Medal, Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medal, and multiple unit and service awards.