Growler WSO balances professional, personal life

MOUNTAIN HOME AIR FORCE BASE, Idaho -- Dramatically enhanced situational awareness and uninterrupted communication enables EA-18G Growler pilots and weapon systems officers to achieve a higher degree of flight capability than ever before.

Built to replace the EA-6B Prowler, the Growler can perform a wide range of enemy defense suppression missions.

The Airmen who fly these jets are assigned to U.S. Navy squadron VAQ-135 and are required to push the limits to succeed and do their best all the time. One weapon systems officer, Capt. Cole Davenport, strives for excellence both professionally and personally.

"Ever since I was old enough to remember looking up at the sky, I have wanted to be in the Air Force," said Davenport, 390th Electronic Combat Squadron logistics assistant director of operations. The 390th ECS is assigned to the 366th Operations Group and is stationed at Naval Air Station Whidbey Island, Wash.

Throughout his nine-year career, Davenport's quest for greatness has earned him multiple awards, most notably being the Distinguished Graduate of the very first Air Force EA-18G Growler course two years ago, as well as the 2011 WSO of Year from the 366th OG.

"In the Air Force, timing is everything and being a part of this program has been fantastic," said Davenport. "It was truly an honor to be chosen as its first distinguished graduate. The Growler has such a large and important mission and I have been humbled and honored to work with many talented and intelligent people in the electronic warfare community."

As an aircrew member, Davenport has been stationed at Air Force bases on opposite sides of the United States.

"I'm lucky to have had the opportunity to be stationed everywhere from North Carolina to Washington state," he said. "I met my wife while in college and now, just a few years later, we have three children and three dogs. I have deployed twice in support of Operation Enduring Freedom and understand how difficult it is for my family when I'm gone."

The rigorous and sometimes hectic schedule of a WSO and Air Force officer requires Davenport to spend the majority of his time working and training.

"I am blessed to have a career I love," said Davenport. "However, my family is the most important thing to me and we have also learned to cherish the time we have together. My wife is amazing and none of my success would be possible without her.

"It's tough in the fighter community because we are usually gone two weeks out of each month for training or an exercise," he continued.

Davenport is excited to be returning to MHAFB and back inside the cockpit of an F-15E Strike Eagle.

"I look forward to getting back to the Strike Eagle and share the lessons I've learned at Whidbey with the junior officers," he said.

His current boss, Lt. Col Don Keen, 390th ECS director of operations, knows Davenport will be successful as a Gunfighter.

"He is a humble man whose hard-work and diligence in everything he does will ensure is always one of the best," said Keen. "His professional attitude and expertise will make him a franchise player back at the 366th Fighter Wing."