2001 MIHS grad Austin is Navy pilot

Michael Austin
— image credit: CONTRIBUTED PHOTO

Michael Austin, a 2001 Mercer Island High School graduate, recently completed Navy pilot training and earned his wings of gold on Dec. 19, 2008.

After graduating from Southern Methodist University in Dallas, Texas, Austin entered into the service of the Navy and received his commission as an Ensign from Navy Officer Candidate School in Pensacola, Fla., in the winter of 2006.

He then began primary pilot training in Corpus Christi, Texas, flying the T-34C Turbo Mentor for the VT-28 Rangers.

Austin completed primary fight training with top honors in flight and academic performance, being awarded to the Commodores List with distinction, representing the top 10 percent of all graduates.

Out of the primary, he selected the Navy’s jet pipeline and moved to Kingsville, Texas, to train with the VT-22 Golden Eagles in the T-45C Goshawk. After a year of training in Texas, culminating with 10 arrested landings during the initial carrier qualification aboard CVN-69, the USS Eisenhower, Austin earned his wings of gold.

He earned top honors and was awarded student of the month in July 2008, an “E” for excellence in Air Combat Maneuvering and Bombing, and again was named to the Commodores List for advanced flight training.

Newly promoted Lieutenant Junior Grade Austin accepted the invitation and opportunity to remain as an instructor in the T-45 for one year, at which time he will get his choice of the next duty station and platform, which will be the F-18E in Lemoore, Calif. Austin is the son of Liz Austin, of Mercer Island; and Jim Austin, of Issaquah.

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