Each year, the Navy Safety Center presents the Naval Aviation Readiness Through Safety Award in conjunction with the Adm. James S. Russell Aviation Flight Safety Award, which is sponsored by Order of the Daedalians.
Together, the awards recognize the Navy’s major flying command that contributed the most toward readiness and economy of operations through safety. Award criteria include an outstanding safety record, an aggressive safety program, and an improving three-year safety trend. In fiscal year 2020, CNATRA flew just under 272,000 flight hours with no Class A flight, flight-related, or aviation ground mishaps.
Chairman of the Daedalians Foundation Board of Trustees retired Air Force Maj. Gen. Jerry Allen presented the Adm. James S. Russell Flight Safety Award to CNATRA Rear Adm. Robert Westendorff.
“You have complied an outstanding safety record and demonstrated a superior mishap-prevention culture,” Allen said. “You have demonstrated exceptional skill and outstanding airmanship in a demanding training environment. Every one of you can be proud of your contributions to aviation safety and to national defense. Well done!”
CNATRA has singularly won the award eight times since 1965, most recently in 2003, and has been named joint recipient twice. CNATRA received the award in 1967, 1969, 1974, 1980, 1981, 1983, 1990, 1993, 2003, and 2020.
“This is a complete team effort,” said Westendorff. “Whether it’s a flight instructor, a student, staff, or a contractor, we have all contributed to that outstanding safety record. Safety is the top priority at my command.”
The Adm. James S. Russell Award is named for the former Vice Chief of Naval Operations who commanded Patrol Squadron (VP) 42 during World War II, commanded Midway-class aircraft carrier USS Coral Sea (CVB 43), and served as the chief of the Bureau of Aeronautics, in addition to various other duties. Russell received numerous awards during his time in the Navy including the Legion of Merit, Distinguished Flying Cross, and the Air Medal for his actions in leading his squadron against the enemy.
The Order of the Daedalians, founded in 1934, advocates for air and space power and honors men and women from the U.S. armed forces who flew and fly in defense of the nation.
Headquartered at NAS Corpus Christi, CNATRA compromises five training air wings in Florida, Mississippi and Texas, which are home to 17 training squadrons. In addition, CNATRA oversees the Navy Flight Demonstration Squadron, the Blue Angels, and the training curriculum for all fleet replacement squadrons.
Lt. Michelle Tucker
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