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HistoryVT-7 HistoryHistory

Circa 1999

HistoryA BIT OF HISTORY: VT PatchVT-7 Logo Contributed by John Lucas john.lucas@netzero.net [25AUG2002]

Circa 1989

HistoryA BIT OF HISTORY: Naval Aviation November-December 1989 "...History - Change-Of-Command - Page 29, 31 and 33 - Naval Aviation News - November-December 1989..." WebSite: http://www.history.navy.mil/nan/backissues/1980s/1989/nd89.pdf [22OCT2004]

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Circa 1985

HistoryA BIT OF HISTORY: Naval Aviation March-April 1985 "...History - Change-Of-Command - Page 1, 30 and 31 - Naval Aviation News - March-April 1985..." WebSite: http://www.history.navy.mil/nan/backissues/1980s/1985/ma85.pdf [18OCT2004]

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Circa 1984

HistoryA BIT OF HISTORY: Naval Aviation January-February 1984 "...History - Change-Of-Command - Page 30 and 31 - Naval Aviation News - January-February 1984..." WebSite: http://www.history.navy.mil/nan/backissues/1980s/1984/jf84.pdf [17OCT2004]

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Circa 1982

HistoryA BIT OF HISTORY: Naval Aviation July 1982 "...Awards - Change-Of-Command - Page 2, 44 and 46 - Naval Aviation News - July 1982..." WebSite: http://www.history.navy.mil/nan/backissues/1980s/1982/jul82.pdf [15OCT2004]

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Circa 1979

HistoryA BIT OF HISTORY: Naval Aviation July 1979 "...Awards - Rescues - Change-Of-Command - Page 5, 33 and 35 - Naval Aviation News - July 1979..." WebSite: http://www.history.navy.mil/nan/backissues/1970s/1979/jul79.pdf [10OCT2004]

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Circa 1975

HistoryA BIT OF HISTORY: Naval Aviation November 1975 "...CNO Awards - Page 3 - Naval Aviation News - November 1975..." WebSite: http://www.history.navy.mil/nan/backissues/1970s/1975/nov75.pdf [04OCT2004]

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Circa 1962

HistoryA BIT OF HISTORY: Naval Aviation News November 1962 "...VT-7 Tops Its Own Record - Page 2 - Naval Aviation News - November 1962..." WebSite: http://www.history.navy.mil/nan/backissues/1960s/1962/nov62.pdf [24AUG2004]

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Circa 1961

HistoryA BIT OF HISTORY: "...Training Air Wing One..." http://www.cnet.navy.mil/meridian/tenant.htm [13MAR2000]

Training Air Wing One

Training Air Wing ONE was commissioned August 2, 1971, as the first of six training air wings established under the purview of the Chief of Naval Air Training. It was the first such unit to use the "single base" concept to train jet aviators. Under this concept, considerable savings in training time and travel expenses result from bringing all assets needed to conduct intermediate and advanced strike jet training to one base.

Commander Training Air Wing ONE administers, coordinates and supervises flight and academic training and support programs conducted by three subordinate commands: Training Squadron SEVEN (VT-7), Training Squadron NINETEEN (VT-19) and Training Squadron TWENTY-THREE (VT-23).

In July 1961, Training Squadron SEVEN moved from NAS Kingsville, Texas, to NAAS Meridian. In December 1961, VT-7 split to form a "sister" squadron, Training Squadron NINE (VT-9).

A major change in the structure of the Naval Air Training Command took place in August 1971, when VT-9 split again to form VT-19. Intermediate jet training was assumed by VT-9 and VT-19, leaving the advanced jet role to VT-7.

In July 1987, Training Squadrons NINE and NINETEEN combined to form one intermediate squadron, VT-19.

In July 1994, VT-23 moved from NAS Kingsville, Texas, to NAS Meridian.

In the Wing's first year, 293 students were designated naval aviators; six years later the figure jumped to 847 as a result of the Vietnam War. In 1969, 950 students completed the flight program - the largest number of aviators to be designated in a single year.

Navy and Marine Corps student naval aviators fly jets for the first time at Meridian, accumulating flight time in the T-2C "Buckeye" and TA-4J"Skyhawk." Beginning mid-year 1998, the T-45C "Goshawk" also will be used for student pilot training.

Upon completion of their training, students are designated Naval Aviators by the Chief of Naval Air Training. An average of 130 aviators receive their Navy "Wings of Gold" here each year. This number includes international aviators who train here as a result of a program started in 1976.

Training Air Wing ONE proudly trains the best naval aviators in the world in fulfillment of its motto, "Readiness for Victory at Sea through Training."

Training Squadron Seven

Training Squadron SEVEN (VT-7), with 52 McDonnell-Douglas TA-4J "Skyhawks," originated as a naval advanced training activity located at NAS Memphis, Tenn., with two advanced training units, ATU 105 and ATU 205.

In July 1958, they were consolidated into a single squadron, commissioned BTG-7, and transferred to the Navy's basic training command.

The squadron used T-28 "Trojans" and T-29 "Seastars" to train student aviators in basic instrument flying.

In June 1960, the squadron moved to NAS Kingsville, Texas, and began receiving the T2J-l "Buckeye," a two-place jet trainer built by the North American Aviation Corporation. This was the forerunner of today's T2-C basic jet trainer.

The squadron was designated Training Squadron SEVEN (VT-7) in July 1960 and received a new mission - to provide training in jet transition, precision aerobatics, basic and radio instruments, formation, gunnery and carrier qualifications.

Training Squadron SEVEN moved July 12, 1961, to its present home at NAS Meridian, where it continues to train student naval aviators.

On December 15, 1961, the squadron split to form a "sister" squadron, Training Squadron NINE (VT-9).

The newest member of the "Buckeye" family, the twin-engine T-2B aircraft made its appearance aboard VT-7 on October 27, 1970, and in the spring of the following year, the first A-4s arrived.

In August 1971, a major change took place in the structure of the Naval Air Training Command. Training Squadron NINE split to form a "sister" squadron, Training Squadron NINETEEN (VT-19), and both squadrons assumed the intermediate jet training role at Meridian, leaving the advanced jet training role for VT-7. This allowed prospective naval aviators to complete their entire jet training at Naval Air Station Meridian.

Training Squadron SEVEN has received many awards throughout its history. In 1964, VT-7 was awarded its first of thirteen Chief of Naval Operations Aviation Safety Awards for representing not only a superior safety record, but also an aggressive and professional approach to safeguarding the lives of all personnel. In January of 1975, VT-7 completed its first accident-free year in the A-4 "Skyhawk," and in July of that same year amassed a total of 35,000 accident-free hours.

In November 1981, the squadron received a unit commendation from Secretary of the Navy John Lehman for accomplishing the squadron's Pilot Training Requirement (PTR) for fiscal year 1980, while remaining accident free for the entire year.

In 1994, the squadron was presented the Vice Admiral Goldthwaite Award, the Golden Anchor Award and the CNO Safety Award. They also received the Safety Award in 1995 and the Vice Adm. John H. Towers Flight Safety Award in 1996.

As of July 1997, the "Eagles" of Training Squadron SEVEN have designated more than 2928 Navy and Marine Corps aviators. Every two months there is a designation ceremony, commonly called a "winging," for about 15 of the Navy's newest aviators.

In addition, Italian, Spanish, French, Kuwaiti, Singapore and Argentinian navy students are trained by VT-7, the only advanced jet squadron in the world to do so.

The student naval aviator pipeline takes approximately two years of intense flight training involving many hours of ground school, flight simulator work and close to 300 hours of flight time in three different aircraft. The students also accomplish a feat known only to a handful of pilots in the world -- they land jet aircraft on board an aircraft carrier, qualifying them as carrier aviators.

There is a continuous pool of approximately 90 student naval aviators in VT-7 at any one time.

To produce the finest naval and Marine Corps aviators in the world takes the highest quality flight instruction available. This is provided in VT-7 by the instructors and enlisted support personnel who take great pride in their tremendous responsibility.

Training Squadron Nineteen

Training Squadron NINETEEN (VT-19) was commissioned as a basic jet training squadron at Naval Air Station Meridian August 2, 1971. However, the squadron's heritage extends back to August 1943, when Torpedo Bomber Squadron NINETEEN flew the TBM-1C aircraft, affectionately referred to as the "Bucking Jeep."

In the Pacific Theater during World War II, the squadron flew 640 combat sorties against the Japanese. After the war, the squadron was redesignated as a VA (Attack) Squadron.

The famed "19" was re-established as the "Attack Frogs" of Training Squadron NINETEEN at NAS Meridian, Mississippi. VT-19's mission today consists of instructing future naval aviators, both Navy and Marine Corps, in basic jet familiarization, radio instruments, precision aerobatics, formation flying, night flying, air-to-air gunnery and carrier qualification. Strike Training Squadron NINETEEN is responsible for all T-2 jet pilot training conducted for the U.S. Navy. VT-19 also trains jet pilots for numerous foreign countries such as France, Spain, Italy and Thailand.

Initially, the squadron was assigned 57 aircraft, including T-2As and T-2Bs which were phased out in February 1973, and May 1973, respectively. Presently 82 T-2C "Buckeye" aircraft are assigned to Training Air Wing ONE.

In August 1985, the squadron's maintenance department was disbanded in favor of civilian contract maintenance.

Training Squadron NINETEEN has been consistently commended for its aggressive, all encompassing safety program and training effectiveness. In the course of their excellent safety record, the "Attack Frogs" have continually exceeded their assigned pilot training rate. Squadron recognition has included the Admiral John H. Towers Flight Safety Award for 1987 (second award), the Chief of Naval Operations Safety Award for 1985, 14 CNATRA Mishap Free awards, Meritorious Unit Commendation (third award), the Vice Admiral Robert Goldthwaite Award for Training Efficiency for 1981, 1984 and 1991, and the CNET Golden Anchor Award for 1985 and 1987.

In July 1987, Training Squadron NINETEEN expanded when its sister squadron, Training Squadron NINE, was decommissioned and consolidated into NINETEEN.

In August 1997, Training Squadron NINETEEN expanded when its sister squadron, Training Squadron TWENTY-THREE transitioned to the T-45 aircraft and consolidated all T-2 training into VT-19. With 82 aircraft, 52 instructor pilots and 140 student naval aviators, Training Squadron NINETEEN is now the largest aviation unit in the Navy. The squadron's outstanding performance record has been made possible by the conscientious and professional attitude of all personnel assigned.

In addition to flight training operations, the squadron actively participates in athletics, charity drives and various community activities.

Training Squadron Twenty-Three

Proudly nicknamed "The Professionals," Training Squadron TWENTY -THREE (VT-23) was originally commissioned in November 1958 as Advanced Training Unit (ATU) 222 at NAS Kingsville, Texas. The first squadron in the Naval Air Training Command to employ supersonic aircraft, ATU-222 instructed selected student pilots in advanced air-to-air gunnery in the Grumman F-11A "Tiger." ATU-222 completed its first year of operations accident free and was awarded the Chief of Naval Operations Safety Award for 1959. The squadron was redesignated VT-23 in May 1960, and transitioned to the F-9F "Cougar" in 1965. In May 1969, VT-23 set an advanced training command record by flying 1,318.8 hours in a single week.

In 1970, the squadron again changed aircraft type - this time to McDonnell Douglas' TA-4J "Skyhawk." The TA-4J is the jet trainer version of the versatile light attack aircraft, which played a key role in United States' air strikes in Southeast Asia.

Receiving a new mission of intermediate strike training in October 1972, VT-23 transitioned the T-2C "Buckeye" jet trainer.

On July 7, 1994, the squadron moved to its current home - NAS Meridian. In October 1997, the squadron again changed aircraft type, this time to The Boeing Company T-45C "Goshawk." Students are expected to begin training in this modern glass cockpit trainer during the summer of 1998.

The command's outstanding performance as a training squadron has earned it many awards. In fiscal years 1967 and 1980, VT-23 was named the "Top Jet Squadron" in the Naval Air Training Command. "The Professionals" were also awarded the prestigious Vice Admiral Goldthwaite Award as the Navy's top training squadron in 1973, 1987 and 1995.

VT-23 won the Chief of Naval Air Training Award for Training Excellence in 1979, 1984, 1986 and 1988 and the Chief of Naval Operations Safety Award in 1981, 1982, 1983, 1986, 1987, 1988 and 1993.

In 1988, "The Professionals" recorded the largest single production year of an intermediate training squadron in over a decade, producing 33 students over its goal. In recognition, VT-23 was awarded its second Meritorious Unit Commendation for exceptional training effectiveness, safety achievement and operations records. In 1989, the command was presented the Admiral John H. Towers Safety Award for achieving the most outstanding mission-oriented safety record in the Naval Air Training Command.

Since their ATU-222 days, "The Professionals" have maintained the highest standards of excellence. The result is a proud tradition and long line of quality trained naval aviators.

Circa 1960

HistoryA BIT OF HISTORY: Naval Aviation News October 1960 "...Accident Rate Lowered - Page 12 - Naval Aviation News - October 1960..." WebSite: http://www.history.navy.mil/nan/backissues/1960s/1960/oct60.pdf [18AUG2004]

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Circa Unknown

HistoryA BIT OF HISTORY: [VT-7 Logo] [13AUG2000]

HistoryA BIT OF HISTORY: VT PatchVT-7 Logo Contributed by John Lucas john.lucas@netzero.net [25AUG2002]

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