There will be a naval aviator designation ceremony today beginning at 1 p.m. in the chapel at Naval Air Station Meridian.

The naval aviator designation ceremony is not prescribed specifically by Navy regulations but has emerged as an honored product of the rich heritage of naval tradition. It marks the culmination of nearly two years of specialized training, which has prepared these officers for the rigorous demands of aerial combat and carrier operations — earning each the title of "Naval Aviator" and the right to wear the coveted "Wings of Gold."

The guest speaker will be Brig. Gen. James E. "Erik" Hearon, chief of staff, headquarters, Mississippi Air National Guard.

Eight U.S. Navy and Marine Corps aviators and one French navy pilot will receive wings of gold, including the following who completed advanced strike training in Training Squadron Seven:

Lt. j.g. Gregory Brant, USNR, who earned two Navy "E's" for bombing accuracy during Advanced Strike Training. He carrier qualified in the T-45C on board the USS Dwight D. Eisenhower (CVN-69) on Jan. 27;

Lt. j.g. Matthew Gerber, USNR, who was named to the Commodore's List during Primary Flight Training. He earned six Navy "E's" for bombing accuracy during Advanced Strike Training, and carrier qualified in the T-45C on board the USS Dwight D. Eisenhower (CVN-69) on Jan. 27;

Ensign Julie Stephan, French navy, who earned one Navy "E" for bombing accuracy during Advanced Strike Training. She carrier qualified in the T-45C on board the USS Dwight D. Eisenhower (CVN-69) on Jan. 28; and

Lt. j.g. Brad Wohlenhaus, USNR, who was named to the Commodore's List during Primary Flight Training. He earned five Navy "E's" for bombing accuracy during Advanced Strike Training, and carrier qualified in the T-45C on board the USS Dwight D. Eisenhower (CVN-69) on Jan. 28.

The following completed advanced strike training in Training Squadron Nine:

Lt. j.g. Fredrick Allen, USNR, who was named to the Commodore's List during Primary Flight Training. He earned five Navy "E's" for bombing accuracy during Advanced Strike Training, and carrier qualified in the T-45C on board the USS Dwight D. Eisenhower (CVN-69) on Jan. 26;

First Lt. Justin Grissom, USMCR, who was named to the Commodore's List during Primary Flight Training. He earned four Navy "E's" for bombing accuracy during Advanced Strike Training, and carrier qualified in the T-45C on board the USS Dwight D. Eisenhower (CVN-69) on Jan. 26; and

Lt. j.g. Jason Papadopoulos, USNR, who was named to the Commodore's List during Primary Flight Training. He earned four Navy "E's" for bombing accuracy during Advanced Strike Training, and carrier qualified in the T-45C on board the USS Dwight D. Eisenhower (CVN-69) on Jan. 26.

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