VT-10 Wildcats Plaque
14 inch plaque of the VT-10 Wildcats – a perfect plaque to start displaying your Naval Aviation lineage collection off right.
In 1960, Training Squadron TEN (VT-10) was established as a division of the Training Department of NAS Pensacola and was known as the Basic Naval Aviation Officers (BNAO) School. It was strictly a ground training operation until the school was assigned nine UC-45J “Navigators” and six T-2A “Buckeyes” in February 1962. The T-2As were soon replaced with nine T-1A “Sea Star” aircraft. In 1965, Naval Aviation Observers were re-designated as Naval Flight Officers (NFOs) and in 1968, BNAO School was officially commissioned as VT-10.
By November 1970, Training Squadron TEN had trained over 6,000 student NFOs. In 1971, Training Squadron TEN transitioned to the T-39D “Sabreliner” jet trainer and the TF-9J “Cougar” which was replaced two years later by the newer T-2C “Buckeye.”
The squadron doubled in size between 1972 and 1974 to accommodate an increased training requirement, maintaining 40 aircraft: ten T-39Ds and thirty T-2Cs. During the 1970s several flight ground trainers were introduced to the syllabus, including the 1D23 NAV/comm trainer, the 2F90 instrument trainer, and the 2F101 flight simulator. In 1981, a reassignment of aircraft within NATRACOM replaced VT-10’s T-2C aircraft with T-2Bs. The squadron revised its training in 1984 and acquired twenty T-34C “Turbo Mentors”. Cessna T-47As replaced the T-39Ds in 1985.
During 1991, revolutionary changes were made to the NFO syllabus. To improve NFO air sense and situational awareness, 40 additional flight hours were placed in the curriculum allowing instruction in basic piloting skills including aerobatics, takeoffs and landings. The same year, the squadron replaced the T-47A with the T-39N “Sabreliner” which had upgraded avionics and radar. The T-2Bs and the air combat maneuvering syllabus were transferred to Training Squadron EIGHTY-SIX (VT-86). At the same time, VT-10 acquired 20 additional T-34Cs and 2 new 2B37 instrument trainers for primary and intermediate training.
In 1994, the first U.S. Air Force instructors and student navigators (NAVs) reported to Training Squadron TEN under a joint memorandum of agreement between the services. The agreement included the 1996 transition from the T-39N to the Air Force T-1A “Jayhawk” as the training platform for the Intermediate syllabus events. In April 1996, VT-10 split instructor and student assets to assist in the establishment of Training Squadron FOUR (VT-4) as a second NFO/NAV Primary/Intermediate Training Squadron. In 1999 the T-39G/N was re-integrated into the NFO intermediate training syllabus as the training platform for Navy and International students while the T-1 remained the training platform for Air Force and Marine Corps students. In April 2004, VT-10 flew its last T-39G/N sortie with the T-1 taking over as the primary training platform for all VT-10 student NFO intermediate training syllabus flights.
In January 2003, VT-10 initiated instructor orientation flights in the T-6A “Texan II”, the joint Air Force/Navy platform slated to replace the T-34C as the Primary phase syllabus trainer. The T-6A “Texan II” is a single engine, two-seat trainer which is fully aerobatic. It features a pressurized cockpit, a G-tolerance enhancement system and dual zero-zero ejection seats. The T-6A utilizes a state-of-the-art digital cockpit to help familiarize students with what they will encounter in their fleet tours.
In August 2003, VT-10 marked its first training flight in the T-6A “Texan II”. The first student class consisted of 4 Navy, 1 Marine and 1 Air Force students who received over 180 hours of academic training, 27 hours of simulator training, and 60 hours of actual flight time.
In April 2005, VT-10 completed the transition to the T-6A “Texan II” and flew its last T-34C “Turbomentor” student sortie. VT-10 conducted two detachments to NAS Key West, one detachment to Randolph AFB, TX as well as two separate hurricane evacuations when hurricanes Dennis and Katrina made landfall on the Gulf Coast. The squadron implemented the Joint Primary Aircraft Training System (JPATS) format for training and rewrote T-6A courseware to reflect the first major change in Naval Aviation grading philosophy in a generation: the Multi-Service Navigator Training System (MNTS).
2006 saw a continued evolution of the T-6A program through the development of hi-fidelity low-level visual simulators. Detachments to Key West, FL; San Antonio, TX and Savannah, GA, were conducted and the squadron transitioned back to permanant facilities as repairs to damage from Hurricane Ivan were completed. The squadron actively supported the Global War on Terrorism through the efforts of four Individual Augmentees assigned to ground units throughout the Southwest Aisa AOR.
VT-10 has a 60 member Navy, Air Force and Marine Corps instructor staff that currently trains over 300 NFOs and Air Force Weapon Systems Officers (WSOs) annually. In 1997, command of VT-10 began alternating between Navy and Air Force Officers. VT-10 flies approximately 11,000 hours in the T-6A and 2,400 hours in the T-1A annually.
Upon graduation from the Primary or Intermediate phases of flight training, Navy students proceed to follow-on training at either VT-86 (EA-6B, F/A-18F), Randolph AFB, TX (P-3C, EP-3, E-6B) or VAW-120 in Norfolk, VA (E-2C). Marine Corps students receive additional training at VT-86 (F/A-18D/F, EA-6B). Air Force students proceed to VT-86 (F-15E, B-lB).
Training Squadron TEN has been awarded five Meritorious Unit Commendations and four Chief of Naval Education and Training “Shore/Technical Training Excellence Awards”, the most recent in 2005. “Wildcat” safety initiatives have earned the squadron 21 Chief of Naval Operations Safety Awards including one in 2005. The squadron was awarded the Towers Award for safety in 1978 and the Grampaw Pettibone Safety Award in 2004 and 2005. VT-10’s extensive energy conservation efforts and improved efficiency enabled the squadron to receive the 1995, 1996 and 2002 Secretary of the Navy Energy Conservation Awards. In 2005, VT-10 was presented with the VADM Robert Goldthwaite Award for Training Excellence, the squadron’s fourth such award. VT-10’s resourceful use of “Self Help” to significantly improve facilities resulted in the squadron being awarded the Chief of Naval Operations Bronze Hammer Award for 2000. VT-10 Squadron Augmentation Unit (SAU) received the CNATRA Active Reserve Integration Excellence Award in 2006.
VT-10 has and will continue to aggressively meet the challenges of a changing training environment and continues to proudly serve as the “NFOs Gateway to the Fleet.”