In memory of Jacob J. Rosales of Coronado, California
Captain Jacob John Rosales USN, call sign “Nips”, devoted father and widely revered leader within Naval Aviation, unexpectedly departed the carrier pattern on Friday, June 30, 2023. He was born on February 24, 1978 in Dallas, Texas to parents Roberta Snyder and the late Henry Rosales and raised in nearby Duncanville, Texas with his sister Nicole Nichols.
Jake and Nicole shared a life-long sibling relationship characterized by laughter, fun, and shared memories. In his youth, Jake developed an inseparable bond with a close circle of friends, “The Guys” – Randy Bartley, Michael Jauchen, Sean Smith, and Alan Armstrong. Jake was blessed to have the love and support of Mr. and Mrs. Arnold “Arnie” and Ruth Armstrong as a second family in his childhood years, and he maintained a strong connection with the Armstrong family throughout his adult life.
Jake graduated from Duncanville High School, class of 1996, and went on to attend the United States Naval Academy, graduating in May of 2000 with a Bachelor of Science degree in Economics and a minor in Spanish. Upon graduation, he commissioned as an Ensign in the U.S. Navy and selected for the Naval Aviator training pipeline, earning his wings of gold on June 20th, 2003 and continuing on to fly the F/A-18 Super Hornet.
Throughout his 23-year career as a Naval Officer, Captain Rosales distinguished himself as a standout leader, thoughtful mentor, and dependable friend to all who knew him. His lively warfighter spirit and unparalleled professionalism, both inside and outside of the cockpit, resonated widely across every command of which he was a part. He served in several key leadership roles, including as Commanding Officer of the “Black Aces” of Strike Fighter Squadron 41 (VFA-41), Executive Officer of the west coast F/A-18 Super Hornet Fleet Replacement Squadron the “Flying Eagles” of Strike Fighter Squadron 122 (VFA-122), and Operations Officer aboard the USS Abraham Lincoln (CVN 72) during their record breaking 295-day deployment. “Nips” was a graduate of the prestigious U.S. Navy Fighter Weapons School (TOPGUN) where, following graduation, he remained as a TOPGUN instructor and became the U.S. Navy’s Surface-to-Air Threat and Counter-tactics subject matter expert.
Jake also completed tours as a junior officer at the “Black Knights” of Strike Fighter Squadron 154 (VFA-154), the Training Officer and a Department Head at the “Red Rippers” of Strike Fighter Squadron 11 (VFA-11), the Master Aviation Plan Writer at Naval Air Force Atlantic, and earned his Master’s Degree in Strategic Studies at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas while attending the Advanced Strategic Leadership Studies Program. Most recently, he served as the Master Aviation Plan Team Lead at Naval Air Force Pacific aboard Naval Air Station North Island, working directly for the “Air Boss,” the three-star admiral in charge of all of Naval Aviation.
Throughout his career in Naval Aviation, Captain Rosales completed five operational deployments, flew 3,281 total hours across five different Navy aircraft including 70 combat missions in support of Operations Iraqi Freedom and Enduring Freedom, and amassed more than 400 arrested landings. His personal awards include the Meritorious Service Medal (two awards), Navy Air Medal (two awards), Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medal (three awards), and the Navy Achievement Medal (two awards).
Jake was planning to soon retire from the Navy and was very much looking forward to spending more time with his two children, Christopher (16) and Cadence (14). He frequently and proudly touted their accomplishments both inside and outside of the classroom, and prominently displayed photos of them in his office. Christopher and Cadence were the source of his deepest joy and he truly cherished every moment spent watching them grow into the wonderful young adults that they are today.
Jake also found it an absolute privilege to have both the love and unwavering support of his best friend, Ms. Ann-Marie Avanni, as well as her two daughters, Mariella (18) and Natalia (18) in his daily life in Coronado. He often spoke fondly of time spent with them, whether it was celebrating the girls’ recent graduation from high school or taking Ann-Marie to their favorite restaurant on the island. The Avanni family brought great happiness and tranquility to Jake’s life, and for that he was unquestionably grateful.
He shared his passion for the outdoors with friends and family alike, frequently enjoying surfing, hiking, paddle boarding, golfing, and biking. Jake was never one to sit still and let life pass him by; but rather, he always had to be going somewhere and doing something that either bettered himself or those around him – usually both. His energy, levity, and love will be missed by many, but the memory of the profound impact he had on their lives will certainly not be forgotten.