NAWCWD salutes aviators and maintainers at CoNA closure
After a year-long celebration of the Navy’s 100 years of aviation, the Centennial of Naval Aviation (CoNA) draws to a close Dec. 31. Navy bases across the nation paid tribute to the pioneering successes of naval aviators that began with an astounding feat of bravado when Eugene Ely landed a Curtiss Model D bi-plane on the wooden deck of the USS Pennsylvania in 1911. This achievement was followed by the Navy’s purchase of its first aircraft. With that, naval aviation was born.
From early successes like crossing the Atlantic by air, the victory at the Battle of Midway to the amazing feats of technological success that put our aviators into the universe, we can be proud of our naval aviation history. Naval aviation encompasses the navy, Marine Corps and Coast Guard aircraft, pilots, maintenance and crew members who protect America by air, land and sea.
NAWCWD participated in several events that included squadrons VX-30 and VX-31 flying historically painted aircraft at the Feb. 12 Centennial Kick-Off at Naval Air Station, North Island, Calif.; 60th anniversary Electronic Warfare celebration at Point Mugu, Calif.; S-3 simulator ribbon cutting ceremony at Point Mugu, March 31; Educational/school tours at both China Lake and Point Mugu sites; USNS McLean christening April 16, San Diego; Ventura County Military Exposition, April 21, Camarillo, Calif.; Armed Forces Day celebration, Ridgecrest, Calif.; Wings Over Camarillo Airshow, Aug. 20—21, Camarillo; and the China Lake CoNA Festival, Oct. 15, Armitage Field, China Lake.
At China Lake, more than 3,000 people visited Armitage Field for a first-hand view of the aircraft and weapons displays as well as demonstrations of aircraft fire-fighting.
Today’s naval aviation force is comprised of more than 328,530 officers and sailors assigned to 11 aircraft carriers, 10 carrier air wings, 25 naval air stations and 168 fleet, training and reserve squadrons. Around the globe, pilots, aircraft maintainers, weapons specialists and support personnel are the backbone of this nation’s maritime strategy. In addition, there are 203,632 civilian employees working alongside the military personnel.
A naval aviation statement reads, “Behind every aviator in a cockpit are hundreds of men and women serving in support roles that have supreme confidence in the aviator and the aircraft. The teamwork that exists throughout the Navy is what determines the success or failure of each mission.”
Vice Adm. T. J. Kilcine, Jr. recognized the contributions of those maintainers when he wrote, “By supporting the Navy’s celebration of this important milestone, you recognize the hard work of tens of thousands of naval aviation personnel and their families spanning multiple generations.”
As CoNA draws to a close, we salute the aviators who fly the aircraft and the maintainers like those who work for NAWCWD’s squadrons behind the scenes to “keep ‘em flying.”
NAVAIR press release