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Sailor from Golden training to be Navy pilot named FOX31 Hero of the Month

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NEWPORT, R.I. (KDVR) — A Colorado sailor is just days away from achieving a lifelong goal. The 2015 Golden High School graduate is days away from completing Officer Candidate School. But before he earns that honor, we’re honoring him as our FOX31 Serving Those Who Serve Hero of the Month.

Andrew Townsend is a University of Colorado alum training to be a Navy pilot. His career inspiration came, in part, from Hollywood.

“You know I wanted to see the ocean, and also may have seen a film called ‘Top Gun’ that may or may not have influenced me a little bit,” Townsend told FOX31.

The training he’s undergoing right now in Rhode Island isn’t exactly easy. In one simulation, Townsend and the other sailors have to fix their ship after it’s been hit by a torpedo.

“They call that the wet trainer, and the instructors show us how to patch different types of holes, different breaches, different ways to do that. Basically these are all lessons that were learned through blood. You know, somebody died at some point,” Townsend said.

The grueling 13 week-long Officer Candidate School tests the physical and mental strength of would-be Navy officers. But it’s worth it for Townsend, 23, who grew up in land-locked Colorado, and has always dreamed of serving his country by air and by sea.

“Keep your head down, keep working, be a good person, humble, credible, approachable,” Townsend said, describing the traits needed for a successful Navy officer.

Those traits are the very reasons we chose to surprise Townsend with our Hero of the Month honors.

He gets a plaque from our Serving Those Who Serve sponsors, FordPlumbline Services and the Leo Hill Charitable Trust.

When his training is complete, Townsend hopes to take the controls of a Navy jet, like the kind Maverick flew in ‘Top Gun.’ 

“Sure, that’s the goal. You know something pointy-nosed and fast,” Townend said.

To nominate a veteran, active duty service member, military family member or volunteer for our Hero of the Month honors, visit the nomination page.

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