Litchfield Park Native Training To Serve As The Next Generation Of The Elite U.S. Naval Aviation Force

A Litchfield Park, Arizona native and 2013 Millennium High School graduate has joined in a rigorous training process that transforms officers into U.S. naval aviators. Ensign Hunter Jones is currently a student pilot with the “Stingrays” of Training Squadron (VT) 35, and he is learning to fly the T-44C Pegasus aircraft. He is based in Corpus Christi, Texas at the Naval Air Station.

His goal, like the goal of any student pilot, is to learn and master the systems of his aircraft to become a successful naval aviator.

“Every day is different and you never have a perfect flight, but you are always reaching and continuing to pursue perfection,” Jones said.

According to Jones, Litchfield Park molded him into the man he is today.

“My parents and siblings instilled in me morals, values and self-discipline, and using these traits help me become a successful naval officer,” Jones said.

The aircraft that Jones flies is a T-44C Pegasus; it is a twin-engine, pressurized, fixed-wing monoplane. It has two 550 shaft horse powered engines and a cruising airspeed of 287 mph.

VT-35’s primary mission is to train future naval aviators to fly as well as instill leadership and officer values After completing the VT-35 four phases of flight training program which consists of aviation pre-flight indoctrination, primary flight training, and advanced flight training – naval aviators earn their “Wings of Gold.”

Pilots are further trained after graduation to fly a specific aircraft. Then, they are assigned to a ship or land-based squadron. A key element of the Navy the nation needs is connected to the fact that America is a maritime nation. Our 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.  Jones is a key component in America’s goal of rebuilding military readiness, strengthening alliances, and reforming business practices in support of the 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 the Secretary of the Navy, Richard V. Spencer. “Readiness, lethality and modernization are the requirements driving these priorities.”

Jones is proud of receiving his commission and the opportunity to become a naval officer. “My childhood dream has always been to fly aircraft and being commissioned is one step closer in achieving that goal,” Jones said.

Serving in the military is a family tradition for Jones. “Both of my grandfathers, one in the Navy and one in the Marine Corps, served during WWII and I’m honored to carry on the family name serving my country,” Jones said.

Jones is a member of the U.S. Navy’s most relied-upon assets, and he understands that he is a part of a legacy that will continue beyond his lifetime. “It’s an honor to serve in the Navy because to me, it’s means being a part of something bigger than myself,” Jones said.

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