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Navy pilot in training has Valley roots

PENSACOLA, Florida – A U.S. Naval Academy graduate with roots in the St. John Valley is presently attending flight school along with her husband.

Michelle (Morneault) Schuhlein of Pensacola, Fla., a U.S. Navy flight officer, stands o0n the wing of a training aircraft. Schuhlein, the daughter of Erick M. Morneault and granddaughter of Martin E. Morneault of St. David, is attending Navy flight school along with her husband, Colin Schuhlein.

Michelle (Morneault) Schuhlein of Pensacola, Fla., a U.S. Navy flight officer, stands o0n the wing of a training aircraft. Schuhlein, the daughter of Erick M. Morneault and granddaughter of Martin E. Morneault of St. David, is attending Navy flight school along with her husband, Colin Schuhlein.

Michelle (Morneault) Schuhlein is the daughter of St. David native Erick M. Morneault, U.S. Army, retired, an air ambulance helicopter pilot; the granddaughter of Martin E. Morneault of St. David and the late Doris Morneault; and niece of Louise (Morneault) Martin of Madawaska and Paul Morneault of Morganton, N.C., her father’s siblings.

She joined the U.S. Naval Academy in the summer of 2011, when she was 17. She graduated and received her naval commission in May 2015 with a bachelor of science in chemistry and was designated as a naval flight officer (NFO).

Her husband is a “Memphian” and hails from Germantown, Tennessee. “It took over 900 miles for us to meet each other at the USNA,” she joked in an article for her high school paper. Colin Schuhlein is also a naval flight officer and an Academy graduate. The couple were married at the USNA Chapel on June 20, 2015.

The Schuhleins live in Pensacola, Florida outside of Naval Air Station Pensacola, which is the “Cradle of Naval Aviation” and home of the Blue Angels. The training aircraft share the same airfield with the Blue Angels, and their practices and airshows never fail to inspire, Schuhlein said. She selected jets to train on, and is currently in intermediate training in the T-6A Texan II. The next phase will be Advanced Strike in the tactical jet pipeline to train in the T-45C Goshawk.

As a student NFO, she is acquiring the skills necessary to become a mission commander and a weapons systems officer or an electronic warfare officer, dependent on the platform, in the Fleet. The platforms available after Advanced Strike are the F/A-18F Super Hornet and the EA-18G Growler, the latter of which she aspires to fly. The primary role of an electronic warfare officer in the Growler involves electronic attack, the suppression of enemy air defenses via missiles, and defending other strike assets.

Schuhlein said she looks forward to protecting and serving the nation through this integral and challenging mission.

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