WHITING FIELD, Fla. (NNS) -- Arizona Senator and former presidential candidate John McCain served as the guest speaker for the winging ceremony that included his son, aboard Naval Air Station Whiting Field, Fla., Jan. 28.
Ens. John S. McCain IV, received his "wings of gold" following his completion of initial helicopter training.
Fifteen other students achieved the designation with Ens. McCain and were praised by the senator during his speech.
"Your mission is the same as it has always been," Senator McCain said. "You are the defenders of our freedoms and the custodian of our values. We are blessed to be Americans, not just in times of peace and prosperity. We are part of something providential: a great experiment to prove to the world that democracy is not only the most effective form of government, but the only moral government...On behalf of our country, and for myself, I can say I am certain we are in good hands."
More than 30,000 helicopter pilots have achieved this designation as the Navy prepares to celebrate the 100th year of Naval aviation. Every Navy, Marine Corps and Coast Guard helicopter pilot now receives their training at NAS Whiting Field through one of the three helicopter training squadrons on the base.
The younger McCain graduated from the United States Naval Academy in 2009. He was selected for naval aviation and after Aviation Preflight Indoctrination aboard Naval Air Station Pensacola, he attended primary flight training for the T-6A with the 33rd Flying Training Squadron aboard Vance Air Force Base, Okla.
He continued his training at NAS Whiting Field with Helicopter Training Squadron (HT) 18. The winging ceremony is the stepping stone to his next phase of training in the fleet.
Senator McCain is also a graduate of the U.S. Naval Academy and served for 22 years in the Navy as a naval aviator. During his time in service he became a Prisoner of War for more than five years. After his release, he returned to the U.S. and continued to serve in the Navy until his retirement in 1981. McCain has been involved with the United States Congress and Senate for 27 years in on-going service to the United States.
For more news from Naval Air Station Whiting Field, visit www.navy.mil/local/naswf/.