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Cabarrus Magazine

Kannapolis Native is Now Serving as an Air Traffic Controller for the Navy

Jul 27, 2018 04:19PM ● By Melanie Heisinger

Airman Samantha Geel. Image courtesy of

A 2017 A.L. Brown High School graduate and Kannapolis, North Carolina, native is serving at the Navy’s largest aviation training center.

Airman Samantha Geel is now serving as an air traffic controller for the Navy. Geel operates out of Naval Air Technical Training Center (NATTC) at Naval Air Station (NAS) Pensacola, Florida. 

Her job is to make sure that everything is safe and effective through directing aircraft in the airfields or the flight decks of aircraft carriers. 

When it comes to her success, Geel noted in a press release that lessons she has learned while growing up in Kannapolis have helped her. “I learned that the world is smaller than you think it is,” said Geel in a press release

The NATTC was commissioned in 1943 and today, the training center is 5,300 strong including students, instructors and support personnel. Where Geel is training is at NAS Pensacola, otherwise known as “The Cradle of Naval Aviation.” it's the initial primary training base for all U.S. Navy, Marine Corps and Coast Guard officers pursuing designations as Naval Aviators and Naval Flight Officers. 

Highly-trained aircraft technicians is incredibly important to the success of the planes that fly in and out of the base. Their support helps naval operations around the world, and training is the first step. After their training, they are deployed around the world putting their skill set to work flying jets from aircraft carriers, submarine-hunting helicopters, serving as aircrew operating sophisticated radar and weapons systems, electronic warfare and more. 

The Blue Angels Flight Demonstration Squadron has a home in Pensacola, with an overall workforce of 16,000 military and 7,400 civilian personnel. 

According to the press release, "NATTC provides four major departments; Air Traffic Control, Avionics, Air Training and Mechanical Training for nearly all enlisted aircraft maintenance and enlisted aircrew specialties."

Geel is serving an important role in the successful functioning of the Navy. Thank you for your service! 

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