Spartans attend Naval Aviation Orientation field trip


Johnnie Walton

White Station High School students board military helicopters to hear from pilots and learn about military aviation firsthand.

White Station High School students walked from one military aircraft to the next last Thursday, Oct. 3, at the Wilson Air Center.  Navy League Memphis invited hundreds of Memphis-area students to attend the Naval Aviation Orientation to learn about aviation jobs in the military.


This once-a-year event gave attendees the chance to go inside military helicopters and presented information about career paths in the different military branches.  It’s an informational occasion that involves the youth in Memphis–something that isn’t commonly seen here.


“While we were there, we talked to a few different ROTC departments from a few different colleges, as well as the National Guard.  The National Guard had an armored vehicle, a helicopter, a medical vehicle, a two-tone truck and a humvee,” said Chris Phebus (11).


The information relayed to students didn’t only pertain to aviation.  A Coast Guard Fast Response boat was also presented alongside the helicopters.  Greeted by the pilots of these intricate machines, students were able to hear from these professionals about what they do and how they got to where they are.


“I wish we’d had more time in each aircraft so we could have more of an opportunity to talk one-on-one with the pilots,” said Johnnie Walton (11).


With this said, this orientation offered a broad range of helicopters from the different branches.  Students attending this field signed up out of interest in military aviation.


“It kind of opened my eyes to the different opportunities in the military for aviation cause I’ve kind of had my mind set on the same thing for a long time, so it was nice to get exposure from branches,” Walton said.  “I wanted to be a helicopter pilot in the military so it’s kind of germane to what I wanted to do anyway. I just wasn’t sure about which branch I wanted to go to.”


This field trip wasn’t just a day dedicated to observing rare military helicopters–it was an opportunity for students to learn more about aircraft and themselves.