Northmont grad commands huge West Coast naval base where Top Gun 2 is filming

Capt. Tim Slentz looks over Naval Base Coronado, of which he assumed command Aug. 1. He is a graduate of Northmont High School and the University of Notre Dame. CONTIBUTED PHOTO
Caption
Capt. Tim Slentz looks over Naval Base Coronado, of which he assumed command Aug. 1. He is a graduate of Northmont High School and the University of Notre Dame. CONTIBUTED PHOTO

Capt. Tim Slentz has flown many miles since his days at Northmont High School but says his local experiences helped clear the way for a journey that today includes command of Naval Base Coronado in San Diego.

Slentz assumed command of the largest naval base on the West Coast in ceremonies Aug. 1.

A 1989 graduate of Northmont High School, Slentz played on the high school football team and was senior class president. He attended the University of Notre Dame on a Naval Reserve Scholarship, graduating in 1993, and was commissioned as an ensign in the Navy in May 1993.

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His love of flight has local roots.

“My interest in flying came from attending the Dayton Air Show every year as a kid. I loved seeing the Blue Angels and the Thunderbirds fly, as well as all of the static displays,” Slentz said. “Top Gun (the movie) came out during my freshman year at Northmont, and after seeing it, I knew I wanted to land on aircraft carriers.”

So, the cool part for him? Parts of the movie Top Gun 2 are being filmed at the Naval Base Coronado facilities.

“To have the base be a part of it, especially after having been so influenced by it as a 15-year-old, is incredibly special,” Slentz said.

Among his family members are mother Chris Kettler of Dayton; dad Bob Slentz; stepdad, John Kettler; and siblings Megan, Molly and Tom, who teaches physical education at Northmont.

Slentz and his wife, Christina, also a Notre Dame grad, have three children, Gabby, 17; Grace, 16; and Matt, 12.

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Slentz described his job as base commander as being similar to mayor or city manager. The base is made up of eight bases with about 35,000 military and civilian personnel, about 600 of whom work on his staff.

“My job is to ensure the base is able to support the missions of the various tenant commands by providing facilities (training ranges, airfields, piers and quays, fitness centers, galleys, barracks, buildings, etc.) and infrastructure so they can deploy and project naval power,” he said. “Most important to that is to provide the security forces who protect our base and our people. It is an amazing job.”

Slentz began his flight training in August 1994 and earned his “wings of gold” as a Naval aviator in summer 1996. He flew the E-2C Hawkeye aircraft, has more than 4,300 flight hours and 440 carrier arrested landings. He was the E-2C pilot of the year in 2000 and 2003 and Naval Air Forces Navy and Marine Association Leadership Award winner in 2005 and 2011.

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He previously worked at the Washington Navy Yard as executive assistant to a vice admiral who oversaw all 71 of the Navy bases worldwide.

Contact this contributing writer at nancykburr@aol.com