Sixteen Get Their Wings


Meridian Naval Air Station, Miss. Mississippi Cong. Gregg Harper addressed sixteen new naval aviators Friday as they received their Wings of Gold at Naval Air Station Meridian.

Thirteen U.S. Navy and Marine Corps aviators and three French Navy pilots graduated from the intermediate flight program.

The traditional ceremony marks the completion of two years of rigorous training to prepare for aerial combat and carrier operations.

"To be here with family and see the pride not only of the young men who received their wings today, but their families, and it was a very emotional and fitting tribute to an exciting end to one page, and one chapter," said Harper. "But it opens so many doors. And we look forward to great things out of this group in the future. "

French pilot Gerard Brechet won the coveted Golden Stick Award, only the third time in the base's history the honor has gone to an international aviator.

Those earning their "Wings of Gold":
First Lt. Alexander Blank, USMC, who was selected as VT-7's Student of the Month for November 2013. He earned two Navy "E's" for bombing accuracy during Advanced Jet Flight Training and carrier qualified in the T-45C on board the USS Theodore Roosevelt (CVN-71) on Dec. 11, when he was named VT-7's "Top Hook" for that carrier qualification evolution. Blank completed Advanced Jet Flight Training with Training Squadron Seven;
Ensign Vincent Brechet, French navy, who was selected as VT-7's Student of the Month for December 2013. He earned three Navy "E's" for bombing accuracy during Advanced Jet Flight Training and carrier qualified in the T-45C on board the USS Theodore Roosevelt (CVN-71) on Oct. 31. Brechet completed Advanced Jet Flight Training with Training Squadron Seven;
Capt. John Cylkowski, USMC, who carrier qualified in the T-45C on board the USS Theodore Roosevelt (CVN-71) on Jan. 22. Cylkowski completed Advanced Jet Flight Training with Training Squadron Nine;
Capt. Christopher Da Pra, USMC, who served as a Logistics Officer in the USMC from July 2010 to August 2011 and was deployed to Helmand Province, Afghanistan from January 2011 to August 2011. During Advanced Jet Flight Training, he earned four Navy "E's" for bombing accuracy and carrier qualified in the T-45C on board the USS Theodore Roosevelt (CVN-71) on Dec. 11. Da Pra completed Advanced Jet Flight Training with Training Squadron Seven;
First Lt. James Galvin III, USMC, who earned two Navy "E's" for bombing accuracy during Advanced Jet Flight Training. He carrier qualified in the T-45C on board the USS Theodore Roosevelt (CVN-71) on Oct. 31. Galvin completed Advanced Jet Flight Training with Training Squadron Nine;
Ensign Bastien Herry, French navy, who earned one Navy "E" for bombing accuracy during Advanced Jet Flight Training and carrier qualified in the T-45C on board the USS Theodore Roosevelt (CVN-71) on Nov. 1. Herry completed Advanced Jet Flight Training with Training Squadron Seven;
Lt. j.t. Nicholas Jones, USN, who earned two Navy "E's" for bombing accuracy during Advanced Jet Flight Training and carrier qualified in the T-45C on board the USS Theodore Roosevelt (CVN-71) on Dec. 11. Jones completed Advanced Jet Flight Training with Training Squadron Nine;
First Lt. Zebulun Josey, USMC, who earned two Navy "E's" for bombing accuracy during Advanced Jet Flight Training and carrier qualified in the T-45C on board the USS Theodore Roosevelt (CVN-71) on Dec. 11. Josey completed Advanced Jet Flight Training with Training Squadron Seven;
Ensign Bastien Lacanal, French navy, who earned one Navy "E" for bombing accuracy during Advanced Jet Flight Training and carrier qualified in the T-45C on board the USS Theodore Roosevelt (CVN-71) on Oct. 30. Lacanal completed Advanced Jet Flight Training with Training Squadron Seven;
First Lt. Joshua Martin, USMC, who earned three Navy "E's" for bombing accuracy during Advanced Jet Flight Training and carrier qualified in the T-45C on board the USS Theodore Roosevelt (CVN-71) on Dec. 11. Martin completed Advanced Jet Flight Training with Training Squadron Nine;
Lt. j.g. Kyle Norlin, USN, who carrier qualified in the T-45C on board the USS Theodore Roosevelt (CVN-71) on Dec. 11. Norlin completed Advanced Jet Flight Training with Training Squadron Seven;
Lt. j.g. Richard Siersma, USN, who was named to the Commodore's List during Primary Flight Training and was VT-9's Student of the Month for June 2013. During Advanced Jet Flight Training, he earned one Navy "E" for bombing accuracy and carrier qualified in the T-45C on board the USS Theodore Roosevelt (CVN-71) on Dec. 11. Siersma completed Advanced Jet Flight Training with Training Squadron Nine;
First Lt. Matthew Trevino, UMC, who earned two Navy "E's" for bombing accuracy during Advanced Jet Flight Training and carrier qualified in the T-45C on board the USS Theodore Roosevelt (CVN-71) on Nov. 1. Trevino completed Advanced Jet Flight Training with Training Squadron Seven;
Lt. j.g. Jesse Varela, USN, who was selected as VT-9's Student of the Month for July 2013. He earned three Navy "E's" for bombing accuracy during Advanced Jet Flight Training and carrier qualified in the T-45C on board the USS Theodore Roosevelt (CVN-71) on Dec. 11. Varela completed Advanced Jet Flight Training with Training Squadron Nine;
Lt. j.g. Benjamin Watters, USN, who carrier qualified in the T-45C on board the USS Theodore Roosevelt (CVN-71) on Oct. 31. Watters completed Advanced Jet Flight Training with Training Squadron Nine; and
First Lt. Akinori Yonamine, USMC, who was named to the Commodore's List during Primary Flight Training. He earned two Navy "E's" for bombing accuracy during Advanced Jet Flight Training and carrier qualified in the T-45C on board the USS Theodore Roosevelt (CVN-71) on Dec. 11. Yonamine completed Advanced Jet Flight Training with Training Squadron Seven.


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