The Order of Daedalians awarded the “Stingrays” of multi-engine Training Squadron (VT) 35 with the 2019 Adm. John H. Towers Flight Safety Award, March 16.
The award recognizes the squadron that has made the most significant contributions to the Naval Aviation Safety program throughout the year.
All student naval aviator and student naval flight officer training squadrons under the Naval Air Training Command are eligible to receive this award. Selection is based on squadrons’ safety records, quality of mishap reports and time between mishap reports, all while considering the number of aircraft being flown and number of days the aircraft spent detached from the squadron.
Training Air Wing 4 Commodore Navy Capt. Kevin Delano presented the award on behalf of the Daedalians to VT-35 Commanding Officer Marine Lt. Col. Brian Dennis on the flight line at Naval Air Station Corpus Christi.
“I am incredibly proud of our team at VT-35 for being recognized with this tremendous honor,” Dennis said. “I can tell you the backbone of our organization is our 10 civilian employees, some of whom have been here over 10 years. Although none directly work in the safety department, they are the quiet professionals who allow the uniform wearers to focus on operations, training and safety.
“Each and every Stingray had a part in the daily operations that allowed us to be recognized, to include our highly professional and extremely hard-working students. Our safety department is the conscience of our squadron and ensures that our pilots are briefed and ready regarding the latest hazard reports, pertinent safety information and trends in aviation safety. As for the rest of our Stingrays, there is no team I would rather be a part of and I feel blessed and lucky to have such a tremendous cadre of officers and civilians who keep the bar so high, making sure we do business the right way – every sortie, every day.”
Cmdr. Nathan Bitz oversees the safety program across the entire Naval Air Training Command and said VT-35 last received the award in 2005.
“We are always striving to improve the Naval Aviation Safety Management System to continue producing the finest military aviation professionals,” Bitz said. “When we have the chance to recognize those who go above and beyond in support of this goal, it is an honor to do so.”
Retired Air Force Major Gen. Jerry Allen of the Order of the Daedalians coordinated presentation of the award.
“Adm. Towers was a founding member of the Daedalians and we salute him for being an outstanding military aviation pioneer,” Allen said. “Congratulations to the stinging Stingrays of VT-35 for your superior flying safety performance.”
Headquartered at Randolph Air Force Base, San Antonio, the Order of Daedalians is a non-profit organization that advocates for air and space power, and honors past and present military aviators. The award, named for Adm. John H. Towers who was designated a naval aviator in 1911, recognizes squadrons for their commitment to flight safety. Towers was known for many pioneering accomplishments during his career, including the establishment of the first naval flight school in Pensacola, Florida.
VT-35, established in 1999, provides multi-engine training and designation to members of the U.S. Navy and Marine Corps. VT-35 provides student naval aviators with basic and advanced multi-engine training and is one of four squadrons under Training Air Wing 4 at NAS Corpus Christi.
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