"You will never be a fighter pilot if you cannot navigate."
Basic Jet Training
On a clear and crisp, bright fall day, as I drove onto NAS Meridian to check in, I passed by a memorial service for a student Naval Aviator. His flag-draped coffin was exiting the base chapel as I drove toward the BOQ (Batchelor Officer Quarters). Like Saufley Field, it was another rude welcome, and a grim reminder of the inherent risks of training to become a Naval Aviator of that time.
Although far from the beach, and the social life obviously couldn't compare to Pensacola, the flying was exciting. Despite having to adapt to the the new and uncomfortable torso harness, painfully hard ejection seat, and tight-fitting and uncomfortable oxygen mask, flying the T-2 was a real thrill.
Despite inclement weather, and Christmas leave, 50 hours of Basic jet familiarization and instrument training in the single engine T-2A Buckeye were completed in little more than 3 months at VT-7. Then I moved to the far end of the hangar, to VT-9 for three more months of jet formation flight training, this time in the much more capable, dual engine, T-2B.
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