Welcome to Helicopter Training Squadron EIGHT and congratulations for successfully completing your Primary Flight Training Syllabus. As you enter the squadron, you will walk under the words "The Best Helicopter Pilots in the World are Trained Here". This has been true since 1950 and we are here to train you in the challenging syllabus of Advanced Rotary Wing Aviation. I can think of no greater way to begin your day than to realize that upon successful completion of this program, you will have the coveted Wings of Gold pinned on your chest. At the same time you will be designated an Unrestricted Naval Aviator, able to fly fixed and rotary wing aircraft.
Your instructors come from every community in United States Navy, United States Marine Corps and United States Coast Guard rotary wing aviation. Some may even come from our allied partners. They have vast experience in their respective careers and will share that experience with you. Whether they have flown multiple combat missions, daring all-weather rescues or crucial logistical support to civilian and military units, the reason they are here is to make you more than just a helicopter pilot. When they succeed in accomplishing HT-8's mission, you will be a confident and capable pilot who they would be proud to fly with in the fleet.
I need you to look forward to your time here and use all of HT-8's resources to your advantage. It will be my pleasure to welcome you aboard upon your arrival.
Congratulations on your orders to Helicopter Training Squadron EIGHT (HT-8). Welcome to the best squadron in the Naval Air Training Command!
HT-8's mission remains what it was when you were a student pilot here at Whiting Field: to provide primary and advanced helicopter training to student naval aviators of the U.S. Navy, Marine Corps, Coast Guard and several allied nations. The squadron has been achieving this mission for over 52 years, first as HT-1 at Ellyson Field in Pensacola, Florida; then as HT-8 here in Milton.
You will fly a tremendous amount of hours here, be challenged on a daily basis, and go home each evening with a renewed sense of purpose; you are joining a squadron that continues to live up to its slogan, "The Best Helicopter Pilots in the World are Trained Here". You will be part of a wardroom that has a proud heritage of instructors who have distinguished themselves in naval service. One of HT-8's graduates, Commander Clyde Lassen, became a Medal of Honor Winner in Vietnam, and later became this squadron's Commanding Officer. From a professional standpoint, I can think of nothing more rewarding than becoming an integral part of that proud legacy, while training a new generation of rotary-wing warriors for our sea services.