A 2010 Huntingtown High School graduate and Chesapeake Beach, Maryland native participates in the lengthy and rigorous training process that transforms military officers into pilots.
2nd Lt. Stephen Anderson is a Marine Corps student naval avaiator with the “Rangers” Training Squadron (VT-27), based in Corpus, Christi, Texas, that operates the T-6B Texan II aircraft. As a student, Anderson is responsible for learning to fly multi-engine and land-based aircraft in conjunction with the Coast Guard, Navy and Marine Corps.
“I love the people that I get to work, the camaraderie is not only great but the training in itself is absolutely amazing,” said Anderson.
The T-6B Texan is a training aircraft that is powered by a 1,100 shaft horsepower, free-turbine, turboprop single-engine, four-bladed propeller, with a cruising speed of 310 mph.
After graduation, pilots continue their training to learn how to fly a specific aircraft, such as the Navy’s F/A-18 Hornet strike fighter jet, the P-8 Poseidon maritime patrol aircraft or the SH-60 Seahawk helicopter. They are later assigned to a ship or land-based squadron.
Many of these pilots will fly aircraft which take off from and land aboard aircraft carriers and other aviation and air-capable ships, a unique capability which allows Naval Air Forces to operate integrally with surface forces anywhere on the world’s oceans. Recently, Navy strike aircraft operating from aircraft carriers sailing in the Eastern Mediterranean Sea and from Middle East waters have launched hundreds of missions against terrorist targets in Iraq and Syria.
As a member of one of the U.S. Navy’s squadrons with the newest aircraft platforms, Anderson said he and other VT-27 sailors are proud to be part of a warfighting team that readily defends America at all times.
“The instructors here are great at what they do,” said Anderson. “I look forward everyday learning from them because with their knowledge and expertise, I know I can be the best I can be both as an an aviator and officer,” said Anderson.
Jobs are highly varied at VT-27, according to Navy officials. Approximately 60 men and women officers and 15 civilian employees, make up and keep all parts of the squadron running smoothly — this includes everything from training the new aviators, maintaining airframes and engines, processing paperwork, along with handling and flying the aircraft.
“What the men and women of this squadron accomplish every day is nothing short of miraculous,” explained CDR Corbett Dixon, Commanding Officer of VT-27. “The students are in the process of moving from just another college graduate in society, to someone who sacrifices their own time and effort for society. That’s what it means to serve in the Navy. That’s what they’re learning as they learn to fly. And the staff here, the instructor pilots and civilians, put in an amazing amount of effort day in and day out, to ensure that we send the best young men and women forward to serve our nation, with all the skills, dedication and integrity necessary to serve successfully.”
Serving in the military, Anderson is learning about being a more responsible leader, Marine and person through handling numerous responsibilities.
“My dad served as a Marine Corps Cobra Pilot,” said Anderson. “I was brought up in a military lifestlye and now serving in the Marine Corps like my father, it’s definitely had a lasting impact influencing me to be both a better man and American.”