In this month’s edition of our ongoing “Alumni in Action” series, we hear from Nathan Kren. From Rock-A-Chaw to Naval Aviator, Nathan reflects on how his formation at Saint Stanislaus helped him succeed in college and beyond.
Nathan Kren, Class of 2008
Being a student-athlete at Saint Stanislaus helped to prepare me for the workload that I would later experience both in college at the United States Naval Academy and in my profession as a Naval Aviator.
First, St. Stanislaus helped me to build a sound foundation in science and mathematics, which in turn allowed me to pursue a challenging degree in Astronautical Engineering – the study of design of aircraft, rockets, and space vehicles. The emphasis on lab work and hands-on problem solving that I learned in Brother Ray’s physics class in high school prepared me well for what I would see in college. One of my college projects included the design and construction of the solar power and satellite communications system for an oceanographic buoy, IceGoat I – the Naval Academy’s first buoy to be deployed to the Arctic Ocean to record and relay oceanographic data.
While the academic education received at Saint Stanislaus was vital, the life skills that I received on the baseball field with Coach Logan were just as important. The teamwork necessary to have a winning team on the field has translated very well to the teamwork which is crucial in the cockpit. Every time the copilot and I enter the cockpit, we are working together to accomplish our mission and bring every member of the team home safely. Sound communication and decision-making help to alleviate the high stress and workload often associated with our flights. As an officer in the Navy, learning the principles of leadership and teamwork at Saint Stanislaus are key to my success in my career.
Possibly the best thing that the baseball coaches at Saint Stanislaus taught me was how to compartmentalize mistakes and persevere. In baseball, if you have four successful bats out of ten, you are considered one of the best. In other words, failure at one time or another is inevitable. While failing in the plane is unacceptable, the ability to compartmentalize is very important; we must routinely overcome minor mistakes, deviations of flight plan, or issues with the airplane and be able to focus on the larger picture, which is accomplishing the mission and bringing the crew home safely.
In March, 2014 I received my FAA Commercial Pilots license. In April, 2014, my wife and I moved to Moore, OK, where I was assigned to Tinker Air Force Base as part of VQ-4 to fly the E6B Mercury. VQ-4 is responsible for providing the President of the United States and other decision-making authorities with a survivable and endurable means to command the nation’s strategic nuclear weapons arsenal. Thanks to the work ethic, leadership, and mental grit that I learned at Saint Stanislaus, I have the tools necessary to be successful in this important job.