Welcome to Helicopter Training Squadron EIGHT and congratulations for successfully completing your Primary Flight Training Syllabus. As you enter the squadron, you will walk under the words “The Best Helicopter Pilots in the World are Trained Here”. This has been true since 1950 and we are here to train you in the challenging syllabus of Advanced Rotary Wing Aviation. I can think of no greater way to begin your day than to realize that upon successful completion of this program, you will have the coveted Wings of Gold pinned on your chest. At the same time you will be designated an Unrestricted Naval Aviator, able to fly fixed and rotary wing aircraft. Your instructors come from every community in United States Navy, United States Marine Corps and United States Coast Guard rotary wing aviation. Some may even come from our allied partners. They have vast experience in their respective careers and will share that experience with you. Whether they have flown multiple combat missions, daring all-weather rescues or crucial logistical support to civilian and military units, the reason they are here is to make you more than just a helicopter pilot. When they succeed in accomplishing HT-8’s mission, you will be a confident and capable pilot who they would be proud to fly with in the fleet. I need you to look forward to your time here and use all of HT-8’s resources to your advantage. It will be my pleasure to welcome you aboard upon your arrival.
This personal copy of a original “Unrestricted Naval Aviator” card handed out to LCDR Tom Phillips, USN (Ret.) when he received his wings at HT-8 in 1970.
THE HISTORY OF NAVAL AVIATOR AND NAVAL AVIATION PILOT DESIGNATIONS AND NUMBERS, TRAINING OF NAVAL AVIATORS AND THE NUMBER TRAINED (DESIGNATED)
Thanks to CAPT Tom Ford, USN (Ret.) of CNATRA Staff for sharing this history of designations.