On September 23rd at the New Orleans Lakefront Airport, Navy and Marine Corps instructor pilots and student naval aviators from Naval Air Station Whiting Field met forty midshipmen (MIDN) from Tulane University Navy Reserve Officers Training Corps (NROTC) unit. Middle and high school students from Bright House Learning Center were also in attendance.
Students had the opportunity to examine aircraft from Training Air Wing Five, including six TH-57 Sea Ranger helicopters with the “Eightballers” of Helicopter Training Squadron (HT) 8 and one T-6B Texan II with the “Doerbirds” of Training Squadron (VT) 2. The pilots gave exterior and internal aircraft tours on the flight line. MIDN received close-up explanations of all aircraft parts, functions, and systems. Being on the airfield with the professional aviators and their aircraft was as exciting as it was informational for the students. All aviation communities are different. Each one specializes in accomplishing specific tasks and missions. This fly-in was the perfect opportunity for students to learn more about primary flight training and the rotary-wing community.
“It’s super awesome. We really love the opportunity to talk to other people about our community. We love what we do and being able to talk to other people about it is always a pleasure."
Lt. j.g. Margarita Ayala, HT-8 student naval aviator
The following day, all female members of the NROTC unit met with pilots in a female mentorship panel at the Tulane Navy Building located on the uptown campus. Also in attendance were Capt. Lena Kaman, Commanding Officer Joint Reserve Base New Orleans, Capt. Jennifer Wilderman (retired) Tulane University Class of ’94, and the base Security Officer, Lt. McDuffie. Moderated by MIDN 2/C Zoe Alvarez, the panel was an opportunity for the female students to ask pilots questions about life in the fleet and get additional advice regarding the aviation community.
“I loved the female aviators and the mentorship panel. We got to connect with them on a personal level.” MIDN 3/C Nina Staben
A social event following the panel allowed students a chance to talk more with the pilots in an informal setting. The pilots shared experiences and gave the students insight into their Navy and Marine Corps careers. The students enjoyed the mentorship and took the opportunity to share details about the NROTC program with the pilots.