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Newsletter Silver Eagles Association Newsletter

Contributed by Charles White silverego@juno.com

Silver Eagles Association

The SILVER EAGLES ASSOCIATION was Incorporated and Chartered by the state of Florida 21 November 1969.

It is limited in membership to the Enlisted Naval Aviation Pilots of the Navy, Marine Corps and Coast Guard (NAP's). These men were Enlisted Flight Students and trained along side and completed the same program as other Naval Aviators.

In 1965 a group of 33 NAP's and ex-NAP's got together in Pensacola, Florida and planned and organized what became the SILVER EAGLES ASSOCIATION, Inc. The association membership grew nationally to over 2000. As the years passed our membership has been reduced to about 725 in December 1999. The survivor's average age now is over 80, so the remaining NAP's are an "endangered species".

The concept of having Naval, Marine Corps and Coast Guard Enlisted Men at the controls of Military Aircraft came early in the development of Naval Aviation. Naval Aviation History mention Enlisted Pilots being involved as early as 1912. However, it was not until 1916 that the first class of Navy petty officers and Marine sergeants received formal pilot instructions in Pensacola and other classes followed at various intervals. The first enlisted pilots designated Naval Aviation Pilots (NAP's), and to wear the gold Naval Aviator Wings graduated in 1920. By December 1947 some 5000 enlisted men of the Navy, Marine Corps and Coast Guard had been designated NAP's, at which time the program was discontinued.

NAP's played a major role in the development and growth of Naval Aviation, both as NAP's and many as Naval Aviators. Three were promoted through the ranks to Rear Admiral and a large number to other senior ranks. Many others served proudly as NAP's throughout their military careers. Every action, every event, every accomplishment, every award, including the Medal of Honor, every battle from World War I through Vietnam (70 yrs) bears the imprint of the Enlisted Naval Aviation Pilot.

National headquarters of the SILVER EAGLES ASSOCIATION, Inc. is in Pensacola. (e-mail: silverego@juno.com There are 9 Wings: Dallas, Jacksonville, Norfolk, Orlando, Pensacola, San Diego, San Francisco, Seattle and Washington DC. Information and history is also available from the national headquarters as well as the Emil Buehier library located in the NAVAL AVIATION MUSEUM on the Naval Air Station, Pensacola, Florida. (museum web site: http://www.naval-air.org) (library e-mail: hill.goodspeed@smtp.cnet.navy.mil).

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