US Navy, May 23, 2019 - MILTON, FL by 1st Lt Pawel Puczko - The Order of Daedalians recognized the “Vigilant Eagles” of Helicopter Training Squadron (HT) 18’s outstanding safety record for 2018 with the Adm. John H. Towers Flight Safety Award, May 17.
Cmdr. Kenneth Kerr, HT-18’s commanding officer accepted the award on behalf of his squadron during a ceremony hosted at Training Air Wing 5 in Milton, Florida.
The award is presented to squadrons that have maintained an outstanding safety record and made significant contributions to the Naval Aviation Safety Program throughout the year. All squadrons within the Naval Air Training Command engaged in training student naval aviators or student naval flight officers are eligible to compete for this award.
"We are constantly making improvements in our Naval Aviation Safety Program to fit a fast-paced and demanding field,” Chief of Naval Air Training Safety Officer Cmdr. Nathan Bitz said. “We are proud to have the op to recognize squadrons that meet and exceed these safety standards.”
HT-18 received the Towers award in 2002 and has maintained a superior safety record since then.
The selection for this award is based upon reports of Class A, B, and C aircraft flight mishaps, Class A and B aircraft ground mishaps, how much time the squadron spent mishap free, and the quality of mishap reports. Apart from the mishap report, the number of aircraft being flown and the number of days the aircraft spent detached from the squadron contribute to selection criteria.
“This is a commendable achievement," said Kerr. "I am truly honored to accept this award, but all the credit goes to our safety department and instructor pilots. It is their day-to-day decision making and grit that has allowed HT-18 to operate so safely, while simultaneously maintaining the highest quality instruction. We are developing future combat aviators and their ownership of the mission makes me extremely proud to be a Vigilant Eagle.”
The Order of Daedalians is a non-profit organization that advocates for air and space power and honors military aviators. It is headquartered at Randolph Air Force Base, San Antonio. The award, named for Adm. John H. Towers, who was a designated naval pilot in 1911, recognizes squadrons for their commitment to flight safety. Towers was known for his many pioneer accomplishments during his career, one of which was the establishment of the first naval flight school in Pensacola, Florida.
HT-18, established in 1972, provides rotary-wing training and designation to selected members of the Navy, Marine Corps, and Coast Guard, along with various allied nations. Its primary mission is to transition student aviators through basic and advanced rotary-wing pilot training. HT-18 is one of six squadrons under Training Air Wing 5.