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Navy Pilots Educate, Inspire Texas A&M NROTC Students
by U.S. Navy 1st Lt. Pawel Puczko
June 3, 2019

Approximately 200 Texas A&M University Navy ROTC students got a firsthand look at Navy aircraft during a static display event at Easterwood Airport in College Station, March 5, 2019.

Aircraft from across the U.S. flew in to support the event, which gave students a chance to talk to pilots about career opportunities within Naval Aviation.

March 5, 2019 - Cmdr. Robert “Bobby Z” Zirzow, an instructor pilot assigned to the "Stingrays" of Training Squadron 35 at Naval Air Station Corpus Christi, Texas, answers questions about the T-44 Pegasus training multi-engine aircraft during a static display event for Texas A&M University ROTC students at Easterwood Airport in College Station. The event provided an opportunity for college students to speak with pilots about a potential career within Naval Aviation. (U.S. Navy photo by Anne Owens)
March 5, 2019 - Cmdr. Robert “Bobby Z” Zirzow, an instructor pilot assigned to the "Stingrays" of Training Squadron 35 at Naval Air Station Corpus Christi, Texas, answers questions about the T-44 Pegasus training multi-engine aircraft during a static display event for Texas A&M University ROTC students at Easterwood Airport in College Station. The event provided an opportunity for college students to speak with pilots about a potential career within Naval Aviation. (U.S. Navy photo by Anne Owens)

Executive Officer of Texas A&M Navy ROTC Cmdr. Robert McGill, from Natchitoches, Louisiana, said the event was a great way to showcase Navy aircraft and could help solidify students’ career decisions.

“Those who desire to go aviation can see what aircraft are available, and meet flight instructors to see what the future holds,” said McGill.

Through the support of Chief of Naval Air Training (CNATRA), students interacted with pilots from various aircraft platforms. Those aircraft included the iconic orange-and-white painted T-6B Texan II, T-44 Pegasus, and T-45 Goshawk, which are used in primary flight training, multi-engine training, and the jet/strike fighter pipeline respectively. Throughout the course of the day each student had the opportunity to interact with a pilot from every stage of becoming a naval aviator, from student and instructor pilots all the way through pilots assigned to the gray aircraft of active fleet squadrons.

“It’s important for me wanting to be a pilot because I get to see what it’s like with different platforms and different aircraft,” said Midshipman 1st Class Jake Ryan, Texas A&M NROTC. “… Hopefully when I decide to see what aircraft I want to be in, I will be more informed.”

Aside from the trainer aircraft, students also interacted with pilots from a P-3C Orion, P-8A Poseidon, and a EA-18G Growler, giving them a range of aircraft platforms and personal experiences from which to learn. Participating aircraft came from Naval Air Station (NAS) Corpus Christi, Texas, NAS Jacksonville, Florida, and NAS Whidbey Island, Washington.

March 5, 2019 - Capt. Steven Hnatt, a naval flight officer assigned to the Chief of Naval Air Training in Corpus Christi, Texas, addresses nearly 200 Texas A&M Navy ROTC students during a static display event at Easterwood Airport in College Station. The event provided an opportunity for college students to speak with pilots about a potential career within Naval Aviation. (U.S. Navy photo by Anne Owens)
March 5, 2019 - Capt. Steven Hnatt, a naval flight officer assigned to the Chief of Naval Air Training in Corpus Christi, Texas, addresses nearly 200 Texas A&M Navy ROTC students during a static display event at Easterwood Airport in College Station. The event provided an opportunity for college students to speak with pilots about a potential career within Naval Aviation. (U.S. Navy photo by Anne Owens)

With CNATRA’s continued support of local ROTC units, the Navy and Marine Corps’ leaders of tomorrow will have a better understanding on how to prepare for the rigorous but rewarding journey ahead of them.
“At the end of the day aside from all the technical knowledge it all comes down to leadership, and that I know what I’m doing here matters,” said Midshipman 4th Class Erin Keohane, Texas A&M NROTC.

CNATRA, headquartered in Corpus Christi, trains the world's finest combat quality aviation professionals, delivering them at the right time, in the right numbers, and at the right cost to a naval force that is where it matters, when it matters. 

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