CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas — A Galva, Kansas, native is participating in a rigorous training process that transforms officers into U.S. naval aviators.
According to a release from the Naval Office of Community Outreach, Ensign Alyson Bressie-Donelson is a student pilot serving with Training Air Wing 4 at Naval Air Station Corpus Christi, Texas. Training Air Wing 4 oversees primary flight training in T-6B Texan II aircraft and advanced multi-engine flight training in T-44C Pegasus aircraft at four squadrons on the base.
“Being a student pilot is special because not everyone who wants to do it gets chosen to do so,” Bressie-Donelson said. “A lot of famous people came through this training before me and I’m proud to carry on their legacy. As a woman, I don’t feel different. The number of women in the pilot program is growing because we are as capable as anyone.”
Bressie-Donelson credits success in the Navy to many of the lessons learned growing up in Galva.
“My parents taught me the value of hard work and perseverance,” Bressie-Donelson said. “It has gotten me to where I am today.”
The air training program is approximately 18 months long and focuses on the increased complexity of today’s aircraft. Students must complete multiple phases of flight training in order to graduate, including aviation preflight indoctrination, primary flight training and advanced flight training. After successfully completing the rigorous program, naval aviators earn their coveted “Wings of Gold.”
Though there are many ways for sailors to earn distinction in their command, community and career, Bressie-Donelson is most proud of her officer commissioning and reaching flight school.
“Both required a lot of hard work,” Bressie-Donelson said. “It makes me feel like I’m part of the aviation community.”
Serving in the Navy is a continuing tradition of military service for Bressie-Donelson, who has military ties with family members who have previously served. Bressie-Donelson is honored to carry on the family tradition.
“My grandfather served in the Navy,” Bressie-Donelson said. “Although he did not talk about his Navy career much, his character and the person he was, influenced me.”