Niceville and Fort Walton Beach locals earn wings at NAS Whiting Field
MILTON — Lt. J.G. William G. Adams and Lt. J.G. Justin C. Lambeth earned their wings of gold at Naval Air Station (NAS) Whiting Field Aug. 13 in a ceremony on the installation.
Both helicopter aviators successfully completed primary and advanced training and celebrated receiving their wings before an audience of family and friends.
Adams hails from Niceville and attended Purdue University in Indiana, where he was commissioned through the Naval Reserve Officer Training Corps program.
No stranger to military life, Adams' father, U.S. Air Force retired Col. John Adams, also served in the Navy as a flight surgeon early in his career. Both he and his son trained with the HT-8 “Eightballers” at Whiting Field.
The elder Adams went through helicopter flight surgeon training at Whiting, and then served with the Marines at Marine Corps Base Hawaii before transitioning to the Navy Reserves. He also served in the U.S. Air National Guard and Reserves as a flight surgeon.
The elder Adams still works at Eglin, serving our military in the medical field. His long and distinguished career no doubt had an impact on his son.
The younger Adams inherited that passion for service and said, “Aviation has been my lifelong dream.”
“I always wanted to fly off ships or boats," Adams said. "My parents (John and his mother, Julie) inspired me to chase my dream and supported me all the way through.”
Adams will be transferred to San Diego, California, with HSM (Helicopter Maritime Strike) West, flying the MH-60R helicopter.
“My goal is to be the best officer and pilot I can be, and to serve, defending our nation,” he said.
Also receiving his wings Aug. 13, Lambeth went to elementary and middle school with Adams in the Fort Walton Beach area. Lambeth, a Fort Walton native and University of South Florida graduate, received his commission through Navy ROTC. He is the son of retired U.S. Air Force Senior Master Sgt. Michael and Mary Lambeth of Fort Walton Beach.
“I always wanted to deploy on ships and travel, not be stuck behind a desk. The Navy offered that excitement and the opportunities for my goals,” said Lambeth.
“My dad is my mentor because he showed me the military lifestyle and understood the challenges of serving. I’d also say that students who went ahead of me, like my friend Ryan Peeling, inspired me to become an aviator. I anticipate an exciting career in expeditionary warfare, serving in a deployed environment, and where the Navy needs my skills,” he added.
Lambeth is also heading to HSM West in San Diego, where he and Adams will train to fly their primary helicopter platform, the MH-60R.
These two men will serve together having come up through their early days, and suffice to say, will likely remain friends as they continue their Navy journey.
Adams attended primary flight training in the T-6B Texan II aircraft at Whiting in training squadron VT-6. This 26-28 week training program introduces students to the basics of flying and allows them to solo in the fixed wing aircraft.
Sixty percent of all Naval, U.S. Marine Corps and Coast Guard aviators attend primary flight training at NAS Whiting Field. The other 40 percent go to NAS Corpus Christi, Texas, where Lambeth completed his primary training.
Once selected to fly helicopters, both transitioned to Whiting’s South Field to learn how to fly helicopters in advanced training in the TH-57 airframe. Lambeth trained with Helicopter Training Squadron 28 (HT-28), the “Hellions.”
One hundred percent of all Navy, Marine and Coast Guard helicopter pilots are trained at Whiting Field’s south side. Some international students also train here.
Each segment of primary and advanced training lasts approximately 26-28 weeks, so Adams and Lambeth were stationed at Whiting for more than a year.'
They both related that the curriculum and ground study, as well as flying schedules, were intense but rewarding.