A 2008 Mountain Crest High School graduate is training in a program that turns officers into U.S. naval aviators.
Ensign Jacob Goodwin of Hyrum is a student pilot with the “Stingrays” of Training Squadron (VT) 35, based in Naval Air Station Corpus, Christi, Texas. The squadron flies the T-44C Pegasus aircraft.
Though there are many ways for sailors to earn distinction in their command, community and career, Goodwin is most proud of receiving his commission to become a naval officer.
“It’s been a dream of mine as long as I can remember,” Goodwin said. “It gives me a great sense of fulfillment — ‘living the dream.’”
A Navy student pilot is responsible for understanding the laws, regulations and rules associated with the safe operation of naval aircraft.
The T-44C Pegasus is a twin-engine, pressurized, fixed-wing monoplane used for advanced turboprop radar aircraft training, using two 550 shaft horsepowered engines, with a cruising airspeed of 287 mph.
“While you’re in the air, even though it’s highly regulated, it’s the most liberating feeling ever,” Goodwin said.
Serving in the Navy is a continuing tradition of military service for Goodwin, who has military ties with family members who have previously served. Goodwin is honored to carry on the family tradition.
“My grandfather on my mother’s side was in the Navy as an aviation boatswain’s mate, my grandfather on my father’s side served in the Army and my dad served in the Coast Guard,” Goodwin said. “It’s an honor to carry on the family name serving our country.”
Goodwin said serving in the Navy takes him to places he’d probably never see otherwise.
“I get to help those I come in contact with as well as learn valuable lessons that will benefit myself, my family and my country both now and in the future,” Goodwin said.
VT-35 students must complete four phases of flight training in order to graduate, including aviation pre-flight indoctrination, primary flight training, and advanced flight training. After successfully completing the rigorous program, naval aviators earn their coveted “Wings of Gold.”
After graduation, pilots continue their training to learn how to fly a specific aircraft. They are later assigned to a ship or land-based squadron.