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NEWS | April 24, 2024

VR-59 Reserve Pilots Support Sea Cadet Visit to National Naval Aviation Museum

By Lt. Ashley Hutson, Navy Reserve Commander, 7th Fleet Public Affairs

 Two Navy Reserve pilots assigned to Fleet Logistics Support Squadron 59 (VR-59) flew 63 cadets from the United States Naval Sea Cadet Corps (USNSCC) on a C-40 aircraft for an educational visit to the National Naval Aviation Museum in Pensacola, Fl., April 20.
Navy Reserve pilots Lt. Cmdr. Mike Carr and Lt. Cmdr. Diego McKnight operated the C-40 along with two active duty aircrew personnel, escorting the Sea Cadet group on a regularly scheduled training flight from Ft. Worth to Pensacola.
Carr, a commercial pilot for FedEx and McKnight, a pilot for American Airlines, transported the cadets along with eleven volunteers and sea cadet officers. For twelve of the cadets, the training flight marked their first time embarking on an aircraft. For many others, it was their first time leaving the state of Texas.
The cadets, ranging from ages nine to eighteen, joined together from five different units including Captain Lucy Wilson Division, Forrestal Squadron, Halsey Battalion, Lone Star Squadron, and Red River Battalion. Each unit has a unique mission set with various activities the cadets regularly participate in; such as color guard, band, drill team, and parades.   
Many cadets said they joined the USNSCC to learn more about the military and were encouraged by friends or family to participate. Upon arrival, cadets viewed over 150 military aircraft and reenacted battle events in the interactive exhibits provided throughout the museum.   
Other cadets outwardly expressed their intention to join the Navy once they reach adulthood.
“I want to go to the Naval Academy,” said one cadet, fifteen years of age. “I’m grateful for the opportunities the Sea Cadets have provided for me. I know it’s very special.”
Many of the USNSCC volunteer chaperones expressed their enjoyment at the opportunity to share both their knowledge and military experience with the cadets, while helping the children develop critical thinking skills through team building evolutions.
“It’s fulfilling to pay it forward and watch the cadets learn,” said chaperone Joy Clark, one of seven military veteran volunteers on the trip. “I’d let the cadets lead on their own for a while – they’d try out different methods, then they’d have a moment of realization. Along the way, I’d continue to guide them in the direction they need to go.”
The adult volunteers from the five units plan special events for the cadets to train together once a quarter. Volunteers coordinate with U.S. military personnel to provide opportunities for cadets to gain exposure to the military environment and interact with directly with personnel on site.
The flight was part of a training evolution in preparation for the squadron’s upcoming detachment to support Commander, Task Force 63 in Sigonella, Italy.
“The Fleet Logistics Support Squadron operates between Central Command, European Command, and Pacific Command,” said Naval Aircrewman Mechanical 2nd class (AWF2) Barrett Chittam. “We’ve recently completed operations out of Africa and Italy. There are over two hundred Sailors in our squadron and sixty-five percent of them are reservists. We provide a wide range of support to the Navy, including carrying service animals, mail and personnel. We’re very pleased we can provide transportation for the sea cadets and give them the chance to learn about naval aviation.”
This event was made possible from the coordination efforts between Sea Cadet Commander Howard Fields, Commanding Officer of VR-59 Cmdr. Dan Bradley, Commander of Fleet Logistics Support Wing Captain Dan Pugh, and Admiral James P. Waters of Navy Recruiting Command.
The United States Naval Sea Cadet Corps is a non-profit youth organization founded in 1958 with the commitment to provide knowledge and skills of military services and offer a variety of specialized military training. VR-59 is a logistics squadron that provides essential, responsive and flexible airlift in support of the Navy’s peacetime operations, combat missions, humanitarian assistance and disaster relief worldwide.

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