KINGSVILLE, Texas — A 2013 Canyon Lake High School graduate and Canyon Lake native is participating in a rigorous training process that transforms officers into U.S. naval aviators.
Ensign Conor Martin is a student pilot with the “Golden Eagles” of Training Squadron (VT) 22, based in Naval Air Station Kingsville. The squadron flies T-45C Goshawk aircraft.
A Navy student pilot is responsible for taking off an air craft, completing tactical missions and safely landing the aircraft on land and at sea.
“I enjoy getting to work with the best of the best and learning to operate some powerful equipment,” Martin said.
Martin credits success in the Navy to many of the lessons learned growing up in Canyon Lake.
“I had some great teachers that taught me to work hard and accomplish my goals,” Martin said.
The T-45C Goshawk is a tandem-seat, jet trainer aircraft powered by a twin-spool non-afterburn turbofan engine with 5,527 pounds of thrust and airspeed of 645 mph.
VT-22’s primary mission is to train future naval aviators to fly as well as instill leadership and officer values, Navy officials explained. Students must complete many 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, such as the Navy’s F/A-18 Hornet fighter attack jet aircraft or the F-35 Lightning joint strike fighter jet. They are later assigned to a ship or land-based squadron.
A key element of the Navy the nation needs is tied to the fact that America is a maritime nation, and that the nation’s prosperity is tied to the ability to operate freely on the world’s oceans. More than 70% of the Earth’s surface is covered by water; 80% of the world’s population lives close to a coast; and 90% of all global trade by volume travels by sea.
Martin plays an important role in America’s focus on rebuilding military readiness, strengthening alliances and reforming business practices in support of National Defense Strategy.
“Our priorities center on people, capabilities and processes, and will be achieved by our focus on speed, value, results and partnerships,” said Secretary of the Navy Richard V. Spencer. “Readiness, lethality and modernization are the requirements driving these priorities.”
Though there are many ways for sailors to earn distinction in their command, community and career, Martin is most proud of flying an aircraft in formation.
“It was the culmination of our training block and it took a lot to get there,” Martin said.
Serving in the Navy is a continuing tradition of military service for Martin, who has military ties with family members who have previously served. Martin is honored to carry on the family tradition.
“Both of my grandfathers served during WWII,” Martin said. “They are the reason I joined the Navy and I am proud to serve.”
As a member of one of the U.S. Navy’s most relied-upon assets, Martin and other sailors know they are part of a legacy that will last beyond their lifetimes providing the Navy the nation needs.
“Serving in the Navy means being able to do some good in the world and helping people,” Martin said.