Encinitas Native trains to serve as the next generation of U.S. Naval Aviation Warfighters

By Lt. Paula Knight, Navy Office of Community Outreach

CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas – A 2013 Naples American High School graduate and Encinitas, California, native is participating in a rigorous training process that transforms officers into U.S. naval aviators.

Ensign Tyler Williams is a student pilot with the “Rangers” of Training Squadron (VT) 28, based in Naval Air Station Corpus Christi, Texas. The squadron flies the T-6B Texan II aircraft.

A Navy student pilot is responsible for learning how to fly naval aircraft both effectively and efficiently to execute missions and operations for the fleet.

“I love being able to challenge myself on a daily basis,” Williams said. “I push myself to limits I never thought was possible when flying.”

Williams credits success in the Navy to many of the lessons learned growing up in Encinitas.

“Both of my parents were Marines and I grew up on a naval base,” Williams said. “It was expected of me to join the military and follow in their footsteps.”

The T-6B Texan II is a training aircraft that is powered by a 1,100 shaft horsepower, free-turbine, turboprop single-engine, four-bladed propeller, with a cruising speed of 320 mph.

VT-28’s primary mission is to train future naval aviators to fly as well as instill leadership and officer values, Navy officials explained. Students must complete four phases of flight training in order to graduate, including aviation pre-flight indoctrination, primary flight training, and advanced flight training. After successfully completing the rigorous program, naval aviators earn their coveted “Wings of Gold.”

After graduation, pilots continue their training to learn how to fly a specific aircraft, such as the Navy’s F/A-18 Hornet fighter attack jet aircraft, the P-8 Poseidon maritime patrol aircraft or the SH-60 Seahawk helicopter. They are later assigned to a ship or land-based squadron.

A key element of the Navy the nation needs is tied to the fact that America is a maritime nation, and that the nation’s prosperity is tied to the ability to operate freely on the world’s oceans. More than 70 percent of the Earth’s surface is covered by water; 80 percent of the world’s population lives close to a coast; and 90 percent of all global trade by volume travels by sea.

Williams plays an important role in America’s focus on rebuilding military readiness, strengthening alliances and reforming business practices in support of National Defense Strategy.

“Our priorities center on people, capabilities and processes, and will be achieved by our focus on speed, value, results and partnerships,” said Secretary of the Navy Richard V. Spencer. “Readiness, lethality and modernization are the requirements driving these priorities.”

Though there are many ways for sailors to earn distinction in their command, community and career, Williams is most proud of receiving his commissioning becoming a naval officer.

“This was a big milestone on the way to becoming a successful naval officer and for me to be accepted into the aviation program,” Williams said.

Serving in the Navy is a continuing tradition of military service for Williams, who has military ties with family members who have previously served. Williams is honored to carry on the family tradition.

“My family has a rich tradition of military service,” Williams said. “Both of my grandparents served in the Navy and Air Force, my parents were Marines and my sister is in the Navy. I’m proud and honored to carry on the family name serving our country.”

As a member of one of the U.S. Navy’s most relied-upon assets, Williams and other sailors know they are part of a legacy that will last beyond their lifetimes providing the Navy the nation needs.

“Serving in the Navy means being a part of something bigger than myself and doing my part to protect freedom and democracy around the globe,” Williams said.

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