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NEWS | March 5, 2024

TRFB Sailor prepares to become an Army aviator

By MC2 Adora Okafor Trident Refit Facility, Bangor

With both parents being U.S. Navy veterans, the Navy ethos have always been a part of Machinist’s Mate (Nuclear) 1st Class Nicholas Goldschmidt’s life. Accustomed to the frequent relocations inherent in military life, he learned early on to embrace change, connect with new faces, and thrive in different environments. The influence of his parents’ naval careers led him on a similar path shortly after graduating from high school. 

“I grew up independent and making my own choices to better myself,” Goldschmidt reflected. “Looking back, I think that I was not mature enough to go to college. I probably would have wasted a lot of time and may have racked up debt.”

Goldschmidt’s Navy service contract is nearing completion after eight years of service, and he plans to continue his service by transitioning into the role of an aviator in the U.S. Army. According to Goldschmidt, shore duty at Trident Refit Facility, Bangor (TRFB) has helped him utilize the Navy’s education benefits and has set him up for success as he prepares for his new chapter. 

Popular submarine films like The Hunt for Red October and Down Periscope sparked Goldschmidt’s interest in joining the “silent service.” 

“Those movies give viewers a general idea about the submarine life,” said Goldschmidt. “But they don’t show the enlisted Sailors’ story of serving on a submarine. The enlisted side is learning how to fight the submarine; it is learning how to respond to casualties and how all the systems of submarines work together.” 

Though learning the intricacies of a submarine’s machinery can take a lot of mental power to understand, Goldschmidt looks back on his years stationed on USS Ohio (SSGN 726) fondly. He remembers all the arduous, painstaking, hands-on maintenance it took to get his ship ready for sea.  

“It was an eye-opening experience, especially for a young guy from Clarksville, Tennessee to be trusted with that kind of work,” said Goldschmidt. “The work definitely bonded the division and the department because we all had a common goal, even though it felt like that goal kept getting pushed further to the right; we finally got out to sea and participated in sea trials and sound trials.

It is like having your own little family under the water. It was a blast for me!” 

Goldschmidt, admittedly, thrives on pushing his limits and continually striving for self-improvement. Recognizing shore duty at TRFB as an opportunity to utilize tuition assistance, he wasted no time enrolling in classes to further his education.  

“Even though I didn’t go to college immediately I still wanted to get a degree,” said Goldschmidt. “Now that I have the time on shore duty, I’m about 80 percent of the way through a bachelor’s degree in business.” 

His love for challenges is what led him to his next ambitious goal: becoming an Army aviator as a warrant officer. Goldschmidt, who has always been interested in serving in the Army, spoke with Army recruiters in the past. He was interested in the Warrant Officer Flight Training (WOFT) program, more commonly known as “Street to Seat.” 

WOFT is a highly technical program that trains candidates to fly rotary-wing and fixed-wing aircrafts. Candidates will learn how to fly aircrafts with advanced agility and skill in both tactical and non-tactical missions, and various weather conditions. 

Upon acceptance into the program, Goldschmidt will attend Warrant Officer Candidate School, and then move through several phases of training before graduating as an Army aviator. 

After the completion of the program, there is a 10-year service obligation. 

“I’ve always had an appreciation, kind of a pipe dream, of being an aviator,” said Goldschmidt. “The last eight years have taught me a lot. Working in a technical rate and learning how to study hard will help me take all the key concepts I’ve learned being a submariner and apply it to the application and interview process.” 

In the coming months, Goldschmidt plans to utilize the Post 9/11 G.I. Bill to finish his bachelor’s degree. While it is not required for the program, he is hoping it will make his application more competitive. 

“I thoroughly enjoy being under pressure,” said Goldschmidt. “Life always presents challenges, and they all have stakes. When there are high stakes, like when we’re underway, understanding our surroundings is crucial. The same principles that you learn working in a submarine can be applied to just about any situation.”