TRAINING AIR WING ONE
Training Air Wing One (TW-1) was commissioned Aug. 2, 1971, as the first Training Air Wing to incorporate the single-site training concept. Until that time, jet aviation students received only the basic flight syllabus at NAS Meridian prior to being transferred to bases in Texas for advanced flight training.
Training Squadron Seven (VT-7) and Training Squadron Nine (VT-9) currently train Student Naval Aviators (SNAs) through the completion of the entire jet-training syllabus while stationed at NAS Meridian.
The mission of TW-1 is to provide newly designated aviators to the fleet for further training in operational combat aircraft and is conveyed in the wing motto, “Readiness for Victory at Sea Through Training.” TW-1 embodies the Naval Aviation Enterprise goal of providing the right readiness, at the right time, at the right cost.
The wing commander’s specific mission is to administer, coordinate and supervise the strike flight training syllabus at NAS Meridian, as directed by the Chief of Naval Air Training (CNATRA).
The instructor pilot cadre at TW-1 is composed of men and women from almost every Navy and Marine Corps aviation community, as well as several international military exchange pilots, bringing an enormous array of fleet experience to the training command.
TW-1 is also tasked with training international military aviators from countries including France, Italy, Spain and Singapore and the United Kingdom. Subordinate commands under Commander, TW-1 include the Eagles of VT-7 and the Tigers of VT-9.
These squadrons receive SNAs from Training Air Wing Five (TW-5) at Naval Air Station Milton, Florida, and Training Air Wing Four (TW-4) at NAS Corpus Christi, Texas, upon their completion of primary flight training in the T-6B Texan II.
VT-7 and VT-9 conduct their combined multi-service pilot training in the Navy’s newest jet trainer, the T-45C Goshawk. Upon completion of the 52-week flight instruction syllabus, the SNAs are designated Naval Aviators and receive their Wings of Gold.
TRAINING SQUADRON SEVEN
The Eagles of VT-7 have the mission of safely and effectively training the world’s finest Naval Aviators and preparing them for service and success in the Fleet. Student Naval Aviators train for approximately 52 weeks in the fundamentals of strike aviation.
Initial flights and simulators are devoted to instrument flight conduct culminating in an instrument rating. In the familiarization stage, students learn basic aircraft maneuvering, aerobatics and landing skills foundational to the aircraft carrier environment. Numerous multi-aircraft flights provide requisite skills in two-plane, four-plane and night-formation flying. The second phase of flight training exposes students to manual air-to-ground bombing, Tactical Formation, within visual range Air Combat Maneuvering, and Operational Navigation at low altitude.
Finally, students perform Field Carrier Landing Practice (FCLP) in preparation for their Carrier Qualifications (CQ). In order to become “tail hookers” and earn their Wings of Gold, students must safely complete four “touch-and-goes” and 10 arrested landings aboard a carrier at sea.
VT-7 originated as a Naval Advanced Training Activity at Naval Air Station Millington, Memphis, Tennessee. It was initially composed of two advanced training units. These were consolidated into Basic Training Group Seven (BTG-7), which employed the T-28 Trojan and T-29 Seastar to train student aviators in basic instrument flying.
BTG-7 was designated as VT-7 in July 1960 and relocated to NAS Meridian, Mississippi one year later. VT-7 then split to form a “sister” squadron, Training Squadron Nine (VT-9), in December 1961.
In 1964, VT-7 won its first of 21 Chief of Naval Operations Aviation Safety “S” Awards. A superior safety record and an aggressively professional approach to safeguarding lives and aircraft enabled the command to again receive the CNO Safety Award in 2011.
The T-2 Buckeye was used in VT-7 from 1962 until 1971. The command then transitioned to the Douglas TA-4J Skyhawk to train pilots for advanced strike missions. The first advanced strike student earned his Wings of Gold in the spring of 1972. The last naval aviator trained by VT-7 in the TA-4J graduated in 1999 when VT-7 transitioned to the Boeing T-45C Goshawk. In its first year of Goshawk service, VT-7 flew over 18,000 sorties and made nearly 1,300 carrier landings. In 2015, the squadron flew more than 15,170 hours and winged 44 students trained by a staff of 41 active duty and 21 reserve instructor pilots. To date, the Eagles of VT-7 have winged more than 4,200 Navy and Marine Corps aviators including 365 international students from France, Italy, Kuwait, Spain, Thailand, Singapore, Taiwan and Brazil.
VT-7’s Eagles are dedicated to their mission of training Student Naval Aviators and will continue providing the Fleet with the finest Naval Aviators in the world.
TRAINING SQUADRON NINE
Training Squadron Nine was commissioned Dec. 15, 1961, at McCain Field, U.S. Naval Auxiliary Air Station Meridian.
The current squadron is the third Navy squadron to be designated as VT-9. The first VT-9 was commissioned in 1927 as a Torpedo Squadron, flying the Curtis T3-M Convertible Land/Seaplane. On Aug. 2, 1971, the VT-9 Tigers split and formed another “sister” squadron designated Training Squadron 19 (VT-19) Frogs, and both squadrons then assumed the intermediate jet training role at Meridian.
VT-9 was later decommissioned in July 1987 and the personnel and assets were consolidated with VT-19. On Oct. 1, 1998, VT-19 was re-designated as VT-9 and the Tigers were again reborn.
In July 2003, VT-9 completed its last carrier qualifications in the T-2C Buckeye, and the last E2/C2 aviators to be trained in VT-9 received their Wings of Gold. In July 2004, the last VT-9 T-2C flight took place, ending the almost 40-year Buckeye career at NAS Meridian.
VT-9’s mission is to safely train Student Naval Aviators in the air strike mission for the United States and other international navies. The squadron has trained international students from Spain, France, Brazil, Italy, Singapore and England. Training Squadron Nine currently operates the Boeing T-45C Goshawk. Civilian maintenance contractors maintain T-45C aircraft and the T-45C flight simulators.
In the fall of 2002, VT-9 began training student strike pilots in the “TS” (Total System) syllabus using the T-45C Goshawk. This instruction combined the basics once taught in the T-2C intermediate syllabus with those taught in Advanced Strike Training to form a complete training syllabus that takes a student naval aviator from primary training to the Wings of Gold.
In 2011, VT-9 upgraded its syllabus to the “MPTS” (Multi-Service Pilot Training System) syllabus in order to meet the demands of the fleet in a more efficient manner. This new MPTS syllabus incorporates training programs for every fixed-wing carrier aviation platform in the United States Navy and the foreign militaries it is assigned to train.
Student Naval Aviators and international military students are on board VT-9 for approximately 52 weeks. They are trained in many fundamental stages of strike and carrier aviation. Initially, T-45C students fly several instrument flights focused on building a solid flight foundation that will ultimately lead to an instrument rating. Thirteen day flights and three night flights are then devoted to the familiarization stage where students learn basic aircraft maneuvering, aerobatics and carrier landing skills. The next stage in T-45C training consists of 22 formation flights with emphasis on two-plane, four-plane and basic tactical formations. The first phase of training concludes with FCLP. It is in this stage that the students gain their first experience working with a Landing Signal Officer (LSO) and begin to build the foundation required to successfully land on an aircraft carrier during the second phase of training.
Phase two of training follows two separate paths depending on platform selection.
Those students selecting the E-2C Hawkeye/C-2 Greyhound pipeline begin an 18-flight syllabus designed to carry them through CQ where they land on an aircraft carrier for the first time in their career. After successfully completing Carrier Qualifications, these students are assigned to Training Air Wing Four where they will fly the T-44A Pegasus. Upon completion, they will receive their Wings of Gold.
Those students selecting the Advanced Strike pipeline follow a different path. These students will then fly five operational navigation flights teaching low-level navigation. The strike stage will follow, allowing the students to learn fundamental air-to-ground weapon delivery procedures. Three night formation flights will then be flown instructing the students on two-plane basic night formation flying. The Advanced Strike students then progress to 12 Basic Fighter Maneuvering and four Section-Engaged Maneuvering flights designed to teach basic air combat maneuvering. Finally, the students will begin the CQ stage with an LSO preparing them for their first arrested landings on an aircraft carrier. After the initial carrier qualification, these students will receive their Wings of Gold.
VT-9’s unprecedented safety record has culminated in 12 Chief of Naval Operations Aviation Safety Awards — the most recent was earned in 2012.
In 2002, the squadron was awarded the John H. Towers Flight Safety Award. VT-9’s other recent awards include two Secretary of the Navy Meritorious Unit Commendation awards in recognition of exceeding the established goals of safety, quality and projected training rates as well as the 2009 Vice Admiral Goldthwaite Award for Training Excellence.
NAVAL TECHNICAL TRAINING CENTER
Naval Technical Training Center Meridian was officially commissioned April 17, 1974. The center is known locally as the John C. Stennis Center in honor of Mississippi’s late Sen. John C. Stennis.
NTTC Meridian is under the operational and administrative control of the Commander, Naval Education and Training Command, headquartered at Pensacola, Florida, via the Commanding Officer, Center for Service Support, headquartered at Newport, Rhode Island.
NTTC Meridian is the Navy’s primary training facility for enlisted Administrative and Supply Class “A” schools. Instruction is provided in the following class “A” schools for Navy personnel: Ship’s Serviceman, Logistics Specialists, Personnel Specialist and Yeoman (YN). In addition, NTTC also provides advanced training to senior Yeomen, Coast Guardsmen and Marines returning from the Fleet with the Flag Officer Writer (YN “C” School — NEC 2514) course.
Approximately 1,700 Navy personnel graduate from the center’s schools annually. The average on-board student population is 250.
All of the class “A” schools have transitioned from self-paced to a fully instructor led group-paced curriculum utilizing the Navy’s Integrated Learning Environment (ILE). The average course length is 28 days.
The mission of NTTC Meridian is to support fleet operational readiness through training. Students are taught not only the entry-level skills needed to perform their jobs once they reach the fleet but also the military skills required by naval service. This training is provided by full-time military and contract training instructors.
NTTC Meridian was recognized as the 2009 and 2013 Navy Community Service Program/Project Good Neighbor Community Flagship Award winner for small shore command. Additionally, NTTC Meridian won the overall Navy 2009 Bainbridge Award for volunteer community service.
The highly qualified staff at NTTC Meridian recognizes the responsibility it has for instilling the technical competence, military motivation and appreciation for the traditions and missions of the U.S. Navy needed by the students to become successful Sailors.
NAVAL AIR TECHNICAL TRAINING CENTER LEARNING SITE MERIDIAN
Naval Air Technical Training Center, Learning Site Meridian, formerly known as Chief for Naval Aviation Technical Training Center (CNATT), Meridian since April 1974, became a self-sustained Learning Site reporting to NATTC Pensacola on May 6, 2014. The AZ/6046 “A” School serves as the only inter-service enlisted school on the base, executing an eight week long, fully instructor lead curriculum, with an annual throughput of 524 Sailors and Marines.
Upon completion of the course, Sailors and Marines will have the basic knowledge of the organization and concepts of the three levels of maintenance, the skill to prepare official and unofficial correspondence, prepare Monthly Maintenance Plans, proper maintenance and flight documentation procedures; maintain technical publication libraries, maintain aircraft, engine and supported equipment logs, records and historical files; and an understanding of the functions of Naval Aviation Logistics Command Management Information System Optimized Organizational Maintenance Activity. These apprentice-level skills are to be performed under all operating conditions in the fleet afloat and ashore, with appropriate supervision in Maintenance Administration, Maintenance/Production Control, Quality Assurance and Operations work centers.
MARINE AVIATION TRAINING SUPPORT SQUADRON ONE
On May 1, 1974, Marine Aviation Training Support Squadron 903, Marine Aviation Training Support Group 90 was activated onboard Naval Air Station Meridian. On April 20, 1979, it was re-designated as Marine Aviation Training Support Group. On Aug. 18, 2000, it was again re-designated as Marine Aviation Training Support Squadron One (MATSS-1).
The mission of MATSS-1 is to provide Marine students with well-prepared, innovative instructors, opportunities for leadership, solid role models and the highest level of quality education in a safe training environment.
MATSS-1 provides “A” School training for Marines in one of four military occupational specialties (MOS) following Marine Corps recruit training (boot camp) and Marine combat training. Marine Corps students will attend classes six to eight weeks in duration.
The entry-level courses and the MOS earned are Marine Aviation Operations Specialist Course (AOS 7041), Marine Aviation Supply Specialist Course (MASS 6672), Aviation Maintenance Administration Specialist Course (AZ 6046) and IMRL Asset Managers System (IAMS 6042).
Marine students are also guided toward discovering and capitalizing on their strengths of self-discipline, physical fitness, attention to detail, personal responsibility and personal accountability. This helps to ensure MATSS-1’s goal of sending to the operating forces a Marine who is both technically proficient at an entry level for his/her MOS, as well as a Marine who can be depended upon to maintain the moral and professional standards that are expected of a United States Marine.
MATSS-1 also provides administrative support for instructor pilots and Marine Corps Student Naval Aviators assigned to attend school at Training Air Wing One.
MATSS-1 is the recipient of the National Defense Service Streamer with two Bronze Stars as well as the Global War on Terrorism Service Streamer.
In November 2013, MATSS-1 dedicated the Marine Obstacle Course to Cpl. Sylvester Hood Sr., a Montford Point Marine and Meridian native.