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“The recipients of these awards have shown an exceptional drive for excellence and have delivered on the highest standards of training,” said CNATRA Rear Adm. Robert Westendorff. “They are consistently focused on our mission. They inspire us and raise the bar for our standards of performance. I am honored to announce our awardees and am proud of each one.”
The CNATRA Training Excellence Awards recognize exceptional individual achievement as well as primary and advanced training squadrons that exceeded mission goals while maintaining the highest standards of safety and professionalism.
The “Rangers” of Training Squadron (VT) 28 in Corpus Christi, Texas, received the CNATRA Training Excellence Award (primary squadron).
The “Hellions” of Helicopter Training Squadron (HT) 28 in Whiting Field, Florida, received the CNATRA Training Excellence Award (advanced squadron) and the Vice Adm. Robert Goldthwaite Training Excellence Award for the top overall Naval Air Training Command squadron.
The “Stingrays” of VT-35 in Corpus Christi received the CNATRA Squadron Augmentation Unit (SAU) Award for achievements in flight training as a Navy Reserve unit.
CNATRA recognized the following individuals for their contributions as flight instructors: Flight Instructor of the Year - Lt. Chaun Chang, with HT-28; Reserve Component Flight Instructor of the Year - Lt. Cmdr. Matthew Roberts, with the “Wildcats” of VT-10 in Pensacola; George M. Skurla Naval Flight Officer Instructor of the Year – Lt. Alvaro Merino, with the “Warbucks” of VT-4 in Pensacola.
The Orville Wright Achievement Award, sponsored by the Daedalian Foundation, recognizes the students who achieved the highest grade average for a six month period. The January to June recipient was Lt. j.g. Andrew Brown, who earned his wings at HT-28 and the July to December recipient was Marine 1st Lt. Jordan M. Anderson, who winged with the “Eightballers” of HT-8.
The McCampbell and Foss Awards, sponsored by the American Fighter Aces Association, are awarded to graduates who excelled in the Air Combat Maneuvering stage during flight training. CNATRA selected Lt. j.g. Hunter C. Koltes who winged with the “Redhawks” of VT-21, and Marine 1st Lt. Alex Robertson, who winged with “Eagles” of VT-7, for the awards, respectively.
CNATRA named Lt. j.g. Brooke Houle, who winged with the “Sabrehawks” of VT-86 in Pensacola, Florida, the Outstanding Female Flight Student Graduate for 2021. This award recognizes the Naval Air Training Command female flight student with the highest grade average and is sponsored by the National Society, Daughters of the American Colonists.
CNATRA selected Lt. j.g. Carter Olson, who winged with VT-21, as the recipient of the Britannia Award, sponsored by the British Royal Navy. The Britannia Award is presented to the student naval aviator earning the highest overall weapons score and performance in advanced strike training.
The Rear Adm. Thurston James Memorial Award is presented to the Naval Flight Officer who achieves the highest overall flight and academic grades. CNATRA selected Ensign Brandon Chall, who winged at VT-4.
The Reserve Officer Association Selected Reserve Junior Officer of the Year is Lt. Cmdr. Alex Therre, VT-4. The Association of the United States Navy Selected Reserve Junior Officer of the Year is Lt. Cmdr. Colby Grelle, with the “Tigers” of VT-9. The Association of the United States Navy Full Time Support Junior Officer of the Year is Lt. Cmdr. Kenneth Dalton, VT-35.
CNATRA’s awards program also recognizes individuals who have made significant contributions to the mission outside the cockpit. Lt. John Curnes, Training Wing Four, is named CNATRA Flight Surgeon of the Year. Lt. Asher Frankfurt, with the “Golden Eagles” of VT-22, is named Landing Signal Officer of the Year. The LSO of the Year Award is sponsored by the Tailhook Association.
CNATRA, headquartered aboard Naval Air Station Corpus Christi, Texas, safely trains the world's finest combat quality naval aviation professionals, delivering them to our naval forces at the right time, in the right quantity, with the right skills, at the right cost.
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