WHITING FIELD, Fla. (NNS) -- The Red Knights of Training Squadron (VT) 3 will be golden May 1 when they reach their 50th anniversary. The unit will celebrate the milestone April 28 and 29, and are looking for former squadron members to help mark the occasion.
"We want to bring alumni back to the squadron to see how things have changed, and to see what the future holds for VT-3," said Lt. Nicholas Scerbo, VT-3 public affairs officer.
The Red Knights are planning a series of events during the two-day celebration to have fun, and to share sea stories about the unit. The squadron is preparing a Legacy Hall with a painted mural and photos denoting the history of the squadron and the three aircraft they have flown - the T-28 Trojan, the T-34 Turbomentor, and the new T-6B Texan. Following the welcoming ceremony and a tour of the squadron spaces April 29, VT-3 will have a ribbon cutting of the new hall at 4 p.m. All alumni and instructor pilots will then be invited to an evening social.
The next day will start off with a four-man scramble golf tournament or trip to the Naval Aviation Museum. A black-tie 50th anniversary gala, highlighted by Navy Band New Orleans, tops off April 30 events.
"For us as current instructor pilots, hearing how it was back in the day and sharing stories with previous pilots will be incredibly interesting," Scerbo said.
VT-3 was commissioned on May 1, 1960, at South Whiting Field. Its primary mission at the time was to instruct student naval aviators in radio instruments, formation flying, and air-to-air gunnery. Air-to-air gunnery was discontinued in January 1965 and familiarization and basic instrument training was added in its place. VT-3 moved to its present location at North Whiting Field in 1973 where it has been ever since.
The squadron was one of the early units selected to be alternately commanded by a Navy or Marine Corps officer beginning in 1980. The Red Knights were honored again in 1994 when they became the Navy's first and only joint primary flight training squadron. The first Air Force instructors reported in February 1994 and the first Air Force students followed in July of that same year. VT-3 now alternates Navy and Air Force commanding officers.
The squadron will be the first unit to switch over to training in the T-6B Texan and is initiated that training pipeline recently.
The unit has been a stalwart in the training of naval aviator throughout its history and VT-3 wants to celebrate the men and women who have made that mission successful through the years.
Reservations to attend or questions about the event should be referred to Sue Anctil at firstname.lastname@example.org or via phone at 850-623-7321.
For more news from Naval Air Station Whiting Field, visit www.navy.mil/local/naswf/.