Training Squadron Nine was commissioned on December 15, 1961, at McCain Field, U.S. Naval Auxiliary Air Station, Meridian, Mississippi.
The current squadron is the third Navy squadron to be designated as VT-9. The first VT-9 was commissioned in 1927 as a Torpedo Squadron, flying the Curtis T3-M Convertible Land/Seaplane. On August 2, 1971, the VT-9 "Tigers" split and formed another "sister" squadron designated VT-19 "Frogs," and both squadrons then assumed the intermediate jet training role at Meridian. .
Training Squadron Nine was later decommissioned in July 1987 and the personnel and assets were consolidated with Training Squadron Nineteen. On October 1, 1998, Training Squadron Nineteen was re-designated as Training Squadron Nine and the "Tigers" were again reborn.
In July 2003, VT-9 completed its last carrier qualifications in the T-2C "Buckeye," and the last E2/C2 aviators to be trained in VT-9 received their "Wings of Gold." In July 2004, the last VT-9 T-2C flight took place, ending the almost 40-year “Buckeye” career at NAS Meridian.
Training Squadron Nine's mission is to safely train student naval aviators in the air strike mission for the United States and other international navies. The squadron has trained international students from Spain, France, Brazil and Italy.
Training Squadron Nine currently operates the Boeing T-45C "Goshawk." Civilian maintenance contractors maintain T-45C aircraft flown by VT-9 and the T-45C flight simulators.
In the fall of 2002, VT-9 began training student strike pilots in the "TS" (Total System) syllabus using the T-45C "Goshawk." This instruction combines the basics once taught in the T-2C intermediate syllabus, plus that now taught in Advanced Strike Training to form a complete training syllabus that takes a student naval aviator from primary training to the "Wings of Gold."
Student naval aviators and international military students are on board VT-9 for approximately nine to twelve months. They are trained in many fundamental stages of strike and carrier aviation.
Initially, T-45C students fly several instrument flights focused on building a solid flight foundation that will ultimately lead to an instrument rating. Sixteen day flights and four night flights are then devoted to the familiarization stage where students learn basic aircraft maneuvering, aerobatics, and carrier landing skills. The next stage in T-45C training consists of 23 formation flights with both two- and four-plane formations. These flights begin laying the foundation required during later tactical events. The students will then fly five operational navigation flights teaching low-level navigation. The weaponry stage will follow allowing the students to learn fundamental ground weapon delivery procedures. Four night formation flights will then be flown instructing the students on two-plane basic night formation flying. The T-45 students then progress to 15 ACM flights designed to teach basic air combat maneuvering. Finally, the students will begin field carrier landing practice, or FCLP, with a Landing Signal Officer preparing them for carrier qualifications prior to their first arrested landings on an aircraft carrier. After the initial carrier qualification, the students will receive their "Wings of Gold."
Training Squadron Nine's unprecedented safety record has culminated in six Chief of Naval Operations Aviation Safety Awards over the past years, including 2004. In 2002 the squadron also was awarded the John H. Towers Flight Safety Award. Training Squadron Nine's other recent awards include two Secretary of the Navy Meritorious Unit Commendation awards in recognition of exceeding the established goals of safety, quality, and projected training rates.