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Safe on Deck Episode 44 with J.J. “Yank: Cummings

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“Gemma” More reached out to me months ago after hearing me on the Fighter Pilot Podcast. He asked me to sit down with him and only a few days later we made it happen. It was a great discussion and Gemma is a fantastic interviewer. Thanks for the opportunity Gemma!

Here is Gemma’s recap:

  • For episode forty-four I sat down with CAPT J.J. “Yank” Cummings in Norfolk, Virginia.
  • In 1987, CAPT Cummings joined the Navy Reserve as an Enlisted Hospital Corpsman, and after earning his degree and his commission he was selected to fly the legendary F-14 “Tomcat”.
  • CAPT Cummings deployed to the Middle East nine days after the terrorist attacks on 9/11 and he was among the first Naval Aviators to strike Taliban targets across Afghanistan.
  • Next, CAPT Cummings served as the maintenance officer in Fighter Squadron 143 where he helped sunset the Grumman F-14B “Tomcat” and transition the squadron to the Boeing F/A-18E “Super Hornet”.
  • Following a tour at NATO, CAPT Cummings was chosen to command Strike Fighter Squadron ELEVEN (VFA-11) flying the F/A-18F “Super Hornet” based aboard NAS Oceana.
  • Upon graduation from Navy Nuclear Power School, CAPT Cummings served as Executive Officer aboard the USS Nimitz (CVN 68) where he was second in command of the Navy’s oldest nuclear aircraft carrier for a nine-month deployment as well as the first F-35C “Lightning II” carrier suitability test.
  • Next, CAPT Cummings served as commanding officer of the brand-new $2 billion USS Anchorage (LPD 23) before working as the Assistant Chief of Staff for Aircraft Carrier Suitability at Naval Air Forces.
  • While at North Island, CAPT Cummings was chosen to be the first of three Naval Aviation technical advisors working closely with Paramount Pictures on the script of the internationally-acclaimed film “TOPGUN: Maverick”.
  • In 2018, CAPT Cummings was selected to command the $13.4 billion, 100,000-ton nuclear-powered aircraft carrier USS Gerald R. Ford (CVN 78), and during his time at the helm he led the crew through the COVID pandemic during a period of intense maintenance work both afloat and ashore.
  • CAPT Cummings retired from the Navy in September 2022 with over 36 years of distinguished service, and he currently works at Boeing Defense in customer and field engagement for Navy programs in addition to acting as a keynote speaker, guest lecturer, and mentor at J.J. Cummings Leadership.

Hope you enjoy and please send me any feedback you have. I have thick skin, so do not hesitate to be brutally honest.

Keep showing them you care.