NAVAL AIR STATION PATUXENT RIVER, Md. – The United States Naval Test Pilot School (USNTPS) proudly marked the graduation of Class 162 with a commendable ceremony held on June 16. A total of thirty-four students successfully completed the rigorous 11-month course, earning their prestigious designations as Engineering Developmental Test Pilots, Test Flight Officers, and Test Engineers.

Retired Admiral William K. Lescher, former Vice Chief of Naval Operations and a distinguished alumnus of the USNTPS from Class 91 in June 1987, delivered a captivating keynote address, acknowledging the significant challenges the graduates had overcome and emphasizing the limitless rewards that awaited them.

A graduation ceremony recognizing the 34 students of U.S. Naval Test Pilot School Class 162 was held Friday, June 16. These men and women, representing ten different military organizations, will now be the pilots and engineers for development test and evaluation of their respective organization’s aircraft and aircraft systems.

The Hollywood Volunteer Fire Department in Hollywood, Md., served as the venue for the momentous graduation ceremony, which brought together graduates from various nations, including the Indian Navy, Norwegian Air Force, Royal Air Force, Royal Australian Air Force, Spanish Airforce, Swedish Armed Forces, U.S. Air Force, U.S. Army, U.S. Marine Corps, and U.S. Navy.

Commanding Officer at USNTPS, Lieutenant Colonel Aaron Kia of the U.S. Army, presented diplomas to the accomplished graduates and extended his heartfelt congratulations to the newly anointed “testers” who had demonstrated exceptional dedication and skill throughout the program.

Among the outstanding individuals honored during the ceremony was Flight Lieutenant Nathan Segal of the Royal Australian Air Force, who received the prestigious Commander Willie McCool Outstanding Student Award. This esteemed accolade recognizes the top-performing student in the areas of academics, flight performance, and technical report writing. Furthermore, Flight Lieutenant Segal was also lauded with the Developmental Testing Thesis Award for producing the best final report, a testament to his exceptional capabilities. Major Nathan Winings of the U.S. Marine Corps was bestowed with the esteemed Captain Syd Sherby Leadership Award, named in honor of the founder of the test pilot training division, now known as USNTPS. This distinguished award commends the student who exhibits exemplary leadership qualities within the class.

Of the graduating class, twenty-three students fulfilled the engineering test pilot course requirements, ten completed the engineering test flight officer course, and one successfully met the flight test engineer course criteria. Each graduate can now contribute their invaluable expertise to developing, testing, and evaluating aircraft and aircraft systems.

Located in Patuxent River, Maryland, the USNTPS operates under the Naval Test Wing Atlantic, a vital component of the Naval Air Warfare Center Aircraft Division (NAWCAD). NAWCAD is dedicated to enhancing the capability and operational readiness of naval aviation.

For more information about NAWCAD, please visit .il or follow them on Facebook at

David M. Higgins II is an award-winning journalist passionate about uncovering the truth and telling compelling stories. Born in Baltimore and raised in Southern Maryland, he has lived in several East...

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