Pilots Earn Wings of Gold

A traditional winging ceremony was held on board Meridian Naval Air Station base Friday.

Twelve U.S. Navy and Marine Corps aviators, and one French pilot and one Italian pilot received their Wings of Gold.

the ceremony marks the completion of 52 weeks of training at NAS Meridian, including the final obstacle, becoming qualified to land on air craft carriers.

NAS Meridian officials say this group of pilots represent the best and the brightest in the Navy.

"They're going to go on to become the strike fighter pilots of the U.S. Navy," said Capt. David Lobdell of training Air Wing 1. "And they represent the future of the United States Navy. These folks today in 20 or 25 years are going to be commanding our aircraft carriers, our air wings, and will eventually be the leadership in the Navy."

Those earning their "Wings of Gold" include:

Lt. j.g. Valerie Alice Cappelaere, USN, who carrier qualified in the T-45C on board the USS George H.W. Bush (CVN-77) on Feb. 7. Cappelaere completed Advanced Jet Flight Training with Training Squadron Seven.

Lt. j.g. Omar Colombo, Italian navy, earned three Navy "E's" for bombing accuracy during Advanced Jet Flight Training. He carrier qualified in the T-45C on board the USS George H.W. Bush (CVN-77) on Feb. 8. Colombo completed Advanced Jet Flight Training with Training Squadron Nine.

Lt. j.g. John Brayton Cook, USN, earned three Navy "E's" for bombing accuracy during Advanced Jet Flight Training. He carrier qualified in the T-45C on board the USS George H.W. Bush (CVN-77) on Feb. 7. Cook completed Advanced Jet Flight Training with Training Squadron Nine.

Lt. j.g. Christopher Daniel Farkas, USN, earned one Navy "E" for bombing accuracy during Advanced Jet Flight Training. He carrier qualified in the T-45C on board the USS George H.W. Bush (CVN-77) on Feb. 9. Farkas completed Advanced Jet Flight Training with Training Squadron Seven.

Lt. j.g. Matthew Edward Gross, USN, earned three Navy "E's" for bombing accuracy during Advanced Jet Flight Training. Gross was VT-9's Student of the Month for August 2011. He carrier qualified in the T-45C on board the USS George H.W. Bush (CVN-77) on Feb. 7. Gross completed Advanced Jet Flight Training with Training Squadron Nine.

Lt. j.g. James Russell McKinney, USN, was named to the Commodore's List with Distinction and earned five Navy "E's" for bombing accuracy during Advanced Jet Flight Training. Additionally, he was designated a CNATRA Distinguished Naval Graduate and awarded VT-9's Student of the Month for September 2011. He carrier qualified in the T-45C on board the USS George H.W. Bush (CVN-77) on Feb. 8. McKinney completed Advanced Jet Flight Training with Training Squadron Nine.

1st Lt. Brock Ray Money, USMC, was named to the Commodore's List during Primary Flight Training
and the Commodore's List with Distinction during Advanced Jet Flight Training. Additionally, he was designated a CNATRA Distinguished Naval Graduate and earned four Navy "E's" for bombing accuracy during Advanced Jet Flight Training. He carrier qualified in the T-45C on board the USS George H.W. Bush (CVN-77) on Feb. 8. Money completed Advanced Jet Flight Training with Training Squadron Nine.

Lt. j.g. Jacob Aronson Patrick, USN, was named to the Commodore's List with Distinction during Primary Flight Training and was VT-7's Student of the Month for June 2011. During Total Strike Training he earned one Navy "E" for bombing accuracy. He carrier qualified in the T-45C on board the USS George H.W. Bush (CVN-77) on Feb. 8. Patrick completed Total Strike Training with Training Squadron Seven.

Lt. j.g. Michael James Procelli, USN, earned one Navy "E" for bombing accuracy during Advanced Jet Flight Training. He carrier qualified in the T-45C on board the USS George H.W. Bush (CVN-77) on Feb. 8. Procelli completed Advanced Jet Flight Training with Training Squadron Seven.

Ensign Arthur Denis Schwarzbard, French Navy, was selected as VT-7's Student of the Month for August 2011. He carrier qualified in the T-45C on board the USS George H.W. Bush (CVN-77) on Feb. 7. Schwarzbard completed Advanced Jet Flight Training with Training Squadron Seven.

1st Lt. Benjamin Gerhard VanWingerden, USMC, was named to the Commodore's List during Primary Flight Training and earned one Navy "E" for bombing accuracy during Advanced Jet Flight Training. He carrier qualified in the T-45C on board the USS George H.W. Bush (CVN-77) on Feb. 8. VanWingerden completed Advanced Jet Flight Training with Training Squadron Seven.

Lt. j.g. Kyle Robert Westman, USN, was awarded the Academic Achievement Award in Primary Flight Training. He carrier qualified in the T-45C on board the USS George H.W. Bush (CVN-77) on Feb. 9. Westman completed Advanced Jet Flight Training with Training Squadron Seven.

1st Lt. Thomas Kelly Whitesel, USMC, earned one Navy "E" for bombing accuracy during Advanced Jet Flight Training. He carrier qualified in the T-45C on board the USS George H.W. Bush (CVN-77) on Feb. 7. Whitesel completed Advanced Jet Flight Training with Training Squadron Seven.

1st Lt. Lucas Alexander Woyton, USMC, was named to the Commodore's List during Primary Flight Training and was VT-7's Student of the Month for April 2011. He carrier qualified in the T-45C on board the USS George H.W. Bush (CVN-77) on Feb. 10. Woyton completed Advanced Jet Flight Training with Training Squadron Seven.


WTOK-TV 815 23rd Ave Meridian, Ms. 39301 Phone: (601) 693-1441
Gray Television, Inc. - Copyright © 2002-2014 - Designed by Gray Digital Media - Powered by Clickability 139550873 - wtok.com/a?a=139550873