Training Air Wing Four unveiled its new Heritage Wall showcasing Naval Air Station Corpus Christi's rich aviation history April 8.
The floor-to-ceiling display consists of a video presentation of the base's founding and interviews with aviators and aircrew who were stationed at the base in the past along with photographs depicting the wing's aircraft and personnel. Footage includes an in-depth interview with the City of Austin's former Mayor Lee Leffingwell, a naval aviator who earned his "Wings of Gold" in 1964.
"I find it awe inspiring to look at the history of Naval Air Station Corpus Christi and realize that not only am I walking in the footsteps of some of the most famous aviators in history to include John Glenn and Neil Armstrong but to see how this base has transformed over the years from not only being a training base but also housing POWs in World War II," said Ensign Mark Gettmann, a student naval aviator with Training Squadron (VT) 28 who helped with the project.
Construction of the base began in June 1940. Then Congressman Lyndon B. Johnson attended the official dedication ceremony when the base opened March 12, 1941. Johnson, who later became president of the United States, was a lieutenant commander in the Navy Reserve and was instrumental in getting the base in Texas.
"It's an incredible honor to be a part of the rich legacy of naval aviation here at NAS Corpus Christi," said Commodore of TW-4 Capt. Kevin Delano. "To be associated with so many of the giants in Naval Aviation is humbling, and at the same time extremely motivating. The Training Wing 4 heritage wall allows all aviators, young and old, who walk through our doors to experience this legacy and understand the footsteps they follow. It's an inspiring reminder of our history, our ideals, and our privilege to wear the Wings of Gold."
Training Air Wing 4 trains the world's premier military pilots utilizing the T-6B Texan II single-engine turboprop aircraft for primary phase and the T-44C Pegasus for advanced phase multi-engine training.