Naval Aviation Cadet Class 10-56
The tenth “NAVCAD” class of 1956 convened at Naval Air Station (NAS) Pensacola, Florida on March 6th of that year. There were thirty-five of us at the start; but not everyone managed to remain “in the program” to the end.
We graduated from Pre-flight on June 22, 1956 and moved on to Whiting Field for Primary--where we learned the basics and soloed. Soon it was on to Corry Field and Saufley Field, and some of us to Barin Field. And then the magic day for many of us ... six traps aboard an aircraft carrier, and we were at the end of the beginning; we had finished “Basic.”
We fanned out across the nation’s eastern half for advanced training: Chase, Cabiness, Kingsville, and Corpus Christi in Texas, Olathe in Kansas, plus Forrest Sherman and Ellyson in Florida. There we learned precision instrument flying and combat tactics--the skills needed in the fleet. And in mid-1957, at ceremonies small and large, simple and grand, someone stepped up and pinned those cherished wings of gold on our proud, young chests. We were officers, and maybe even gentlemen, but the important thing was ... we could fly.
And fly we did. We were the “cold war warriors.” The Soviets crushed the Hungarian Revolution while we were in Basic, NORAD was formed about the time we won our wings, and Sputnik-1 flew just as we joined the fleet. Then, careers later, and shortly after many of us retired from active duty, the Soviet Union folded. An era was over. But the stories ... ah, the stories ...
by many of the surviving pilots of Class 10-56
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NAVCAD Class 10-56 is a perfect bound, 6" x 9" glossy paperback available from lulu.com for $9.95 plus shipping. In addition, Amazon.com has it for sale as a Kindle e-book for only $2.99 US.
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