Training Squadron NINETEEN
On August 2, 1971, VT-9 "Tigers" branched off to form its "sister" squadron designated VT-19 "Frogs", and both squadrons assumed the intermediate jet training role at Meridian. Training Squadron NINE was decommissioned in July 1987 and consolidated with Training Squadron NINETEEN. Training Squadron NINETEEN was redesignated Training Squadron NINE, 01 October 1998, and the "Tigers" were again reborn.
Training Squadron NINETEEN (VT-19) was commissioned as a basic jet training squadron at Naval Air Station Meridian August 2, 1971. However, the squadron's heritage extends back to August 1943, when Torpedo Bomber Squadron NINETEEN flew the TBM-1C aircraft, affectionately referred to as the "Bucking Jeep." In the Pacific Theater during World War II, the squadron flew 640 combat sorties against the Japanese. After the war, the squadron was redesignated as a VA (Attack) Squadron.
The famed "19" was re-established as the "Attack Frogs" of Training Squadron NINETEEN at NAS Meridian, Mississippi. VT-19's mission today consists of instructing future naval aviators, both Navy and Marine Corps, in basic jet familiarization, radio instruments, precision aerobatics, formation flying, night flying, air-to-air gunnery and carrier qualification. Strike Training Squadron NINETEEN is responsible for all T-2 jet pilot training conducted for the U.S. Navy. VT-19 also trains jet pilots for numerous foreign countries such as France, Spain, Italy and Thailand.
Initially, the squadron was assigned 57 aircraft, including T-2As and T-2Bs which were phased out in February 1973, and May 1973, respectively. Presently 82 T-2C "Buckeye" aircraft are assigned to Training Air Wing ONE. In August 1985, the squadron's maintenance department was disbanded in favor of civilian contract maintenance.
Training Squadron NINETEEN was consistently commended for its aggressive, all encompassing safety program and training effectiveness. In the course of their excellent safety record, the "Attack Frogs" have continually exceeded their assigned pilot training rate. Squadron recognition has included the Admiral John H. Towers Flight Safety Award for 1987 (second award), the Chief of Naval Operations Safety Award for 1985, 14 CNATRA Mishap Free awards, Meritorious Unit Commendation (third award), the Vice Admiral Robert Goldthwaite Award for Training Efficiency for 1981, 1984 and 1991, and the CNET Golden Anchor Award for 1985 and 1987.
In July 1987, Training Squadron NINETEEN expanded when its sister squadron, Training Squadron NINE, was decommissioned and consolidated into NINETEEN. In August 1997, Training Squadron NINETEEN expanded when its sister squadron, Training Squadron TWENTY-THREE transitioned to the T-45 aircraft and consolidated all T-2 training into VT-19. With 82 aircraft, 52 instructor pilots and 140 student naval aviators, Training Squadron NINETEEN was the largest aviation unit in the Navy.
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