Pilots Earn Their Wings

A new batch of naval aviators earned their wings of gold Friday at Naval Air Station Meridian.

Sixteen pilots, including two Spanish Navy aviators, were awarded their wings during the traditional ceremony at the NAS Chapel.

The ceremony marks the culmination of two years of specialized training, designed to prepare them for the rigors of combat flying and aircraft carrier deck landing.

"They are trained in the general basics of flying a jet aircraft," said Capt. Keith Taylor of Training Air Wing 1. "They were trained in formation flying with up to 4 different aircraft, dropping bombs, air combat maneuvering, dogfighting skills and the most important for a naval aviator is going to an aircraft carrier and landing on an aircraft carrier."

The winging ceremony is not prescribed by the Navy, but has become a tradition over the last several decades.

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