VT-1

The VT-1 Eaglets were never assigned the Skyhawk. The squadron, or its predecessors, did provide basic flight training for many Marine and Navy Skyhawk pilots.

 
VT-1 Eaglets - 1959
Patch from Phil "Quick Draw" Slato
 


Patch

  • 1961 - VT-7's first patch was created by Dennis P. Alsgaard while at Naval Auxiliary Air Station Kingsville. The theme was an air warriors helmet resting on the book of aviation first patch displayed above.
  • 1968 - 1970, Plowback Patch, from Mike Gilmore
  • 1970, VT-7's Dixie Station T-2 Drivers Patch, from Mike Gilmore.
  • 1972, VT-7 eagle patch, from Harry S. Gann, is fourth patch displayed above.
  • 1982 - 1989, VT-7 El Centro, California Desert Detachment patch from Harry S. Gann.
  • 1997, modified eagle patch as drawn by Bud Southworth is number six above.
  • 1998, VT-7's Any Student, Any Country, Any Language Patch. Patch created by Brian K. Ivie, Grumman Technical Services, and provided by LCDR Mike Lowe, USNR. This is the seventh patch displayed above.
  • 1998, VT-7's Skyhawk Sun Rise / Sun Set Patch from LCDR Mike Lowe, USNR.
  • 1998, VT-7 Skyhawk / Enterprise CQ 1998. Patch drawn by 1st Lieutenant John Roundtree, USMC & LTJG Bob Pieroni, USN.
  • Detachment patches, numbers 10 and 11, are from Joe Turpen.


Handle

  • Before 1971, VT-7 had no handle.
  • The Eagles, early 1971 to the present.


Heritage

  • In the early 1950s, ATU-105 and ATU-205 of the Naval Advanced Training Activity at Naval Air Station Memphis, Tennessee.
  • In July 1958, ATU-105 and ATU-205 were consolidated into a single squadron which was redesignated as Basic Training Group Seven (BTG-7) in the Naval Basic Training Command.
  • In August 1960, Basic Training Group Seven was redesignated Training Squadron Seven (VT-7) at Naval Auxiliary Air Station Kingsville, Texas.
  • In July 1961, VT-7 moved to its present base, Naval Auxiliary Air Station / Naval Air Station Meridian, Mississippi.


Home Ports

  • 1956: Naval Auxillary Air Station Saufley Field, Pensacola, Florida.


Air Wings

  •  


Deployments

  • None


Aircraft

 


Commanding Officers

  •  


Events

  • 1910: Mr. Orville Wright, Mr. Wilbur Wright and Mr. Glenn Curtiss provided contract services to the United States Navy to flight train Naval Officers at their facilities.

  • 1913: The United States Navy designated the abandoned Navy Yard Pensacola, Florida to train Naval Aviators.

  • 1919: During World War I, 999 Naval Aviators were trained at Naval Station Pensacola.

  • 1945: During World War II, 28,000 Naval Aviators were flight trained at Naval Air Station Pensacola. Initial Navy flight training was also accomplished at such remote sites as Sand Point, Idaho; Olathe, Kansas; Memphis, Tennessee and Glennview, Illinois.

  • By 1950: Six small Basic Training Unit (BTU) squadrons had been established to provided initial flight training for future Naval Aviators.

  • 1956: Training Squadron ONE (VT-1) established at Naval Air Station Pensacola, Florida by consolidating and redesignating seven smaller Basic Training Unit (BTU) squadrons.

  • 1956:
    Training Squadron ONE (VT-1) was formed by consolidating seven smaller Basic Training Unit (BTU) squadrons. Six of the BTU squadrons were assigned the Beechcraft T-34B Mentor and one BTU squadron was assigned the Temco TT-1 Pinto jet.* Before the T-34B Mentor was introduced the small Basic Training Unit squadrons flew the North American SNJ Texan - Harvard - T6..
    TT-1 photograph from the Harry S. Gann collection.

  • 1957:
    Training Squadron ONE is based on Naval Auxiliary Air Station Saufley Field, which is located about ten miles west of Pensacola, Florida. VT-1 employs the prop driven Beechcraft T-34B Mentor to fulfill its primary flight instruction mission. The T-34B was introduced to VT-1 in the fall of 1956.

  • 1963:
    The first solo flight, for student Naval Aviators, is the first of the many great thrills he will experience in his communion with plane and sky. It happens every day at Saufley Field in Pensacola, Florida. VT-1 at Saufley Field employed the prop driven Beechcraft T-34B Mentor to fulfill its primary flight instruction mission. The T-34B "Mentor" introduced to VT-1 in the fall of 1956 had completed over 11,500 first training phase students by 1963.

  • After graduating from an intensive sixteen weeks of preflight training at Naval Air Station "Mainside" Pensacola the student naval aviator is transferred to Saufley for his first flight instruction. As the student approaches the base along the Saufley Field Access Road, he catches a glimpse of the long red and white line of planes that he will learn to know so well. There are over one hundred and forty planes on the "East Line" which is visible from this road.
    The first few days at Saufley are spent on the routine check-in procedures and the student repeats the process that will become so familiar throughout his flight training . . . he is loaded down with books. There are many, many hours of preparation on the ground for each hour spent in the air.
    The initial indoctrination, includes an introduction to the student's first "squadron" Training Squadron One. Hanger 809 is the home of Training Squadron One, and is divided into sections for the four individual Flights: Flight 12, 13, 14 and Flight 18, the Marine Corps Flight. The primary student is given a brief greeting by his individual flight leader or his assistant and then checks in to ground training. Here he will spend his first week before returning to the hangar.
    Pre-Flight ground school material is directly related to flying that will be done in the weeks ahead. Cockpit procedures, engineering and flight characteristics of the particular aircraft are covered.
    After the two weeks of ground school, the big moment arrives; the student meets his instructor, and weather permitting, they check out on the flight schedules board for the flight line and the PS (Pre-solo) -1 hop. For the next six weeks the student's time will be spent equally between ground school and the flight line. Every effort is made to unify the information presented on the ground and in the air in order to make the student's learning experience complete.
    Although often not as exciting as the flight phase of training, ground school is on extremely important and vital port of the training. An attempt is made to make aviators who will understand every phase of the missions to which they will be assigned, and to make Naval Officers as well as aviators. The positions of leadership and responsibility to which the student can expect to fall heir are unequaled.

    In the hangar the student will find a keen rivalry and a high "esprit de corps." Regular competitions are conducted for student of the week, flight of the month, numerous safety awards, and there are many athletic events. Squadron parties and Friday afternoon "Happy Hours" add greatly to the feeling of belonging that will prevail throughout the student's Naval Aviation career.
    Flight training at VT-1 is divided into two stages of instruction, pre-solo and precision flight.

    In the pre-solo stage the student receives thirteen flights; eleven dual instructional flights; the pre-solo -12 safe-for-solo check and the pre-solo -13 solo. The dual instructional flights prepare the student for the solo flights he will receive in precision flight stage by giving him a thorough introduction to landing procedure and technique. He is also taught to cope with various emergencies that may arise and he is taught the local traffic patterns. Good airmanship and safety are stressed at all times.

    The pre-solo -12 check flight is flown with an instructor other than the student's regular instructor. Based on long experience of training and checking students the check pilot determines whether or not the student is safe to go it alone. To indicate success on this flight the traditional "thumbs up" sign is given by the instructor.

    The student's last flight in this stage is his long anticipated first solo flight. Every conceivable emotion has been co-pilot with students on this first solo, but, invariably, a feeling of tremendous pride has accompanied every student as he walked from his plane back to the hangar upon completion of this flight.

    Soloing, in spite of its importance to the new pilot, is only the first in a long succession of hurdles to be taken before he is a qualified aviator. After the first solo, training intensifies and the student pilot must learn precision and proficiency flying.

    In the precision stage the student refines maneuvers that were introduced in the pre-solo stage and he learns many new ones. A student will generally fly one solo hop and one dual instructional hop while in this stage. The loop, the full cuban eight, the wingover, the barrel roll and the spin become familiar "lingo" in the hangar after the solo acrobatics flights.

    The student finishes this phase of his training at VT-1 when he successfully completes his precision stage check. This hop is not only flown with a different instructor, but the instructor comes from another flight.

    With the completion of Primary, the student has taken a big step in accomplishing his goal to be a Naval Aviator. His confidence in himself and his ability to handle a plane are now real. Although still a long way from his "Wings of Gold" the fledgling pilot has had many experiences and is on his way to establishing habits that will remain with him throughout his life.

    The top five percent of Training Squadron ONE graduates are assigned to VT-7 or VT-9 at Navy Auxiliary Air Station Meridian, Mississippi for basic jet flight instruction in the T-2A Buckeye.

    Most other Training Squadron ONE graduates are sent to VT-2 at North Field on Navy Auxiliary Air Station Whiting Field, Milton Florida for basic propeller flight instruction in the T-28 Trojan.
  • 19??: Training Squadron ONE (VT-1) disestablished.

 

Photograph Album


Saufley BOQ - 1963.
All VT-1 and VT-5 flight students were assigned to live in the Bachelor Officer Quarters building 837 at Naval Auxiliary Air Station Saufley Field. Each hotel size room held two student Naval Aviators and their possessions.
United States Navy photograph.

Ground School - 1963.
A Class of Training Squadron ONE Ground School students, all new Ensigns, march past the base administration building on their way to ground school classes. United States Navy photograph.

Ground School Cockpit Procedures Class - 1963.
Navy and Marine students practice cockpit procedures and emergencies in the T-34B cockpit familiarization trainers. The enlisted TD training technician would simulate emergencies on the trainer's instruments to which students responded with appropriate procedures. Cockpit Procedures was the first class students attended when coming to Saufley Field. Every evening until a student passed his last check ride, the student could be found pre-flying the next day's hop in the trainer.
United States Navy photograph.

Ground School Engines Class - 1963.
A NAVCAD student inspects the innards of a centrifugal flow jet engine as an instructor and ADJ technician stand-by to answer any question. The centrifugal flow jet engine was used in the Advanced Training Command's Grumman F-9 Cougar. The Saufley engines class focused on the Continental engine that powered the T-34B Mentor.
United States Navy photograph.

Ground School Airframes Class - 1963.
Two student Marine Corps Second Lieutenants and two student Ensigns are instructed about the T-34B airframe on a classroom mock-up.
United States Navy photograph.

Ground School Morris Code Class - 1963.
Three dits, four dits, two dits --- dah. Saufley Field, Rah, Rah, Rah! Morris Code Class is a flunkout hurdle. Five words a minute to pass the test. Next was the visual blinker and that was a bummer!
United States Navy photograph.

VT-1 Flight Line - February 1963.
Looking down from the Saufley Field Control Tower at the VT-1 flight line and hangar.
Picture from Ektachrome slide by Bud Southworth.

VT-1 Hangar - February 1963.
Looking down from the Saufley Field Control Tower at the VT-1 hangar. The hangar door is open and exposes the partitions separating the squadron (flights) area.
Picture from Ektachrome slide by Bud Southworth.

Covey of Mentors - February 1963.
Looking down from the Saufley Field Control Tower at the VT-1 flight line aircraft.
Picture from Ektachrome slide by Bud Southworth.

Operations - Flight 12 Ready Room - 1963.
VT-1 Flight 12 flight operations. Here the Squadron Flight Duty Officer schedules training flights from lists of available instructors, students and aircraft.
United States Navy photograph.

The Yellow Sheet - 1963.
After an aircraft is assigned by operations, the instructor and student go to the Maintenance Shack to check the Mentor's past mechanical problems in yellow sheet maintenance records. After signing for the aircraft the crew go to pre-flight inspect the Teenie Weenie.
United States Navy photograph.

Strap-in - April 9, 1963.
Student Naval Aviator Ensign Bud Southworth starts his Maytag Messerschmitt before his first PCW-2 solo acrobatic flight. The Beech T-34B was BuNo. 140881. The flight lasted 1.3 hours and Ensign Southworth made nine landings to conclude the flight.
Picture from Ektachrome slide by Bud Southworth.

First Engine Start - 1963.
A flight instructor oversees his student starting the engine on the first flight. With success the instructor will be in the rear seat for all subsequent engine starts.
United States Navy photograph.

Engine Start - 1963.
A lineman stands-by with a fire bottle as the student starts the engine of T-34 side number 2S 107. The instructor is in the rear seat
United States Navy photograph.

The T-34B Takeoff Attitude - 1963.
Soon after the start of the takeoff run in T-34B BuNo. 140928, side number 2S 151, the student brings the aircraft's nose up to the take-off attitude and maintains that attitude until the aircraft becomes airborne.
United States Navy photograph.

Over Foley Alabama - 1963.
Flying in T-34B, side number 2S 130 at 4500 feet above the Alabama country side, the student performs a series of maneuvers designed to display the Mentor's airborne handling characteristics.
United States Navy photograph.

Saufley Operating Area - 1963.
A T-34B Mentor BuNo. 140706, side number 2S 131, flies over some beautiful cumulus clouds in the VT-1 southern Alabama operating area.
United States Navy photograph.

Returning to Saufley Field - 1963.
T-34B Mentor side number 2S 121, returns to the Saufley Field traffic pattern. Saufley Field is visible in front and to the left of the aircraft's nose.
United States Navy photograph.

Solo - 1963.
A student Naval Aviator has successfully soloed the T-34 and after Squadron secure at happy hour he gets his tie cut off --- after he has presented his instructor with the traditional "bottle of scotch."
United States Navy photograph.


Sources:

  • "Bud" Southworth

 

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