For those at training Air Wing One, their mission is to train roughly half of the strike pilots that are operating tactical aircraft on-board aircraft carriers in the U.S. Navy.
Officials tell us about 170 pilots are trained every year before receiving their wings at NAS. About 25 of those 170 are international students.
"I bet most folks don't know that we train French Naval Aviators here," Captain Dave Lobdell says. "We train Spanish, Italian, we're going to get a couple of Singapore students. We train a large number of United Kingdom students as well."
With all of those students around, Captain Lobdell says the airfield stays very busy with the student pilots flying around. Lobdell tells us NAS is one of the top 40 busiest airports in the country.
"If we were to compare ourselves, we would be here at Naval Air station meridian, we would be the fifth busiest airport in Canada. That's the number of takeoffs and landings we do here every year here at NAS Meridian."
Lobdell says between NAS Meridian and Naval Air Station Kingsville, they train all of the tactical aircraft that fly off of U.S. Aircraft carriers. 54% of that is done at NAS meridian. Captain Lobdell tells us the community support makes it all worth it.
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