Training Squadron SIX (VT-6)
Training Squadron SIX is home to "Instructor Pilots" of the United States Navy, Marine Corps, and Coast Guard. The mission of VT-6 is to provide academic, flight, and other such training as may be directed by the Naval Air Training Command to assigned Navy, Marine, Coast Guard, and Allied Forces Student Naval Aviators.
Training Squadron SIX (VT-6) was established in 1960 as the third primary flight training squadron for the United States Navy located in Pensacola, Florida. In the time subsequent to its commissioning, the Navy's requirement for designated Naval Aviators has been in constant flux reaching a peak during the period ranging from the late 1970's through the end of the 1989. This increased requirement ran concurrent with the Reagan presidency and the concept of realizing the six-hundred ship navy and all capital assets, including personnel, required to support such an undertaking. During this time period, an additional training squadron was established in Corpus Christi, Texas to assist in the training of student aviators. VT-6 has served uninterrupted in this capacity for the past twenty-five years providing the initial flight training education for essentially one fourth of all Navy and Marine Corp student Naval Aviators. An additional requirement placed upon all of the existing training squadrons currently includes the instruction of twenty-five U.S. Coast Guard aviators as well as approximately fifty international students from various allied nations.
Since the establishment of VT-6 in 1960, there have been primarily only three aircraft used for student training. The T-28 Trojan, T-34B Mentor, and currently the T-34C Turbo Mentor which is essentially the same airframe as the "B" model but much improved with the addition of a turbine engine and a propeller with three blades.
Concurrent with the transition from the older more sturdy T-28 to the present T-34B/C there was a major modification in the mission of VT-6. During the era of the T-28, the training squadrons now referred to as "primary" squadrons were used to train pilots from entry level flight training to air-to-air combat, air-to-ground gunnery and ultimately to land aboard the aircraft carrier. With the introduction of the T-34, and subsequently intermediate and advanced flight training, that mission was modified to provide only the initial training in aviation hence the derivation of the name "primary" training squadron. This modification significantly narrowed the mission and objectives of the now "primary" flight training squadron VT-6.
Maintenance or repair work on the capital assets utilized by VT-6 was initially completed by squadron staff personnel. In recent years however, it has become more cost effective to sub-contract all maintenance to civilian contractors. This includes not only aircraft maintenance services but administrative, janitorial and general contracting as well for both aircraft and building upkeep. There were two major benefits realized by the implementation of this practice. First was the massive reduction in personnel requirements brought on by the removal of the maintenance department. Second was the removal of the necessity to dilute the efforts of the remaining squadron members to accomplish "housekeeping" tasks and other essential jobs not directly related to mission accomplishment. This allowed a more concerted effort to be directed towards operational tasking by squadron members.
Since the introduction of these sweeping changes over ten years ago, all of the Navy's Training Squadrons have been working within the framework provided by the Chief of Naval Education and Training (CNET) and higher authorities in the chain-of-command to provide the best possible training in the most efficient fashion possible. The squadron as it stands today is the culmination of years of trial and error, introspection, and countless iterations of the guidelines and procedures delineated for the successful training of naval aviators.
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