NAS LEMOORE – An aviator assigned to Strike Fighter Squadron (VFA) 147 “Argonauts” at NAS Lemoore was awarded the Britannia Award by the British Naval Attaché to the United States.
Royal Navy Commodore Phillip D. Nash presented the Britannia Award to Lt. Thorys Stensrud II during an award ceremony in Hangar 5 aboard NAS Lemoore on Friday. The Britannia Award is given to the Navy or Marine Corps student naval aviator graduate of the Strike Pipeline who demonstrates the highest overall weapons score and performance in the strike phase of Advanced Strike Training during the previous calendar year. Stensrud won the award for his record at NAS Kingsville, Tex. while attached to Training Squadron (VT) 21. He is currently attached to VFA-147 at NAS Lemoore, Calif.
“We’re here to recognize the strong bond between the U.S. Navy and the Royal Navy – one that has stretched back for more than 100 years,” said Nash. “This is a relationship that began with the training of our pilots at the time of the war. It has continued to this day and to the flight line here at Lemoore. This award is a reminder of our strong naval ties, long-standing friendship and enduring gratitude.”
The Britannia Award, established in 1956 by the Lord Commissioners of the Admiralty of the United Kingdom, is an annual award consisting of a scroll and a trophy. It was given as a token of appreciation for the assistance rendered by the United States Navy in training British naval pilots between 1952 and 1956. More than 250 British trainee pilots passed through U.S. air Training centers, where they were instructed by U.S. Navy instructor pilots and brought up to U.S Navy operational standards. At that time, the cost of the training was estimated to be $20 million. This training was paid by the U.S. Government under the Mutual Defense Assistance Program. Additionally, the award recognizes British and U.S. Navy cooperation during the Second World War when more than 28,000 British pilots were training and qualified with the U.S. during the war years.
“It’s a little overwhelming to receive an award like this when you’re just starting out, said Stensrud. “I was a student when I was notified that I had won the Britannia award. At first, I wasn’t sure what to think. But then, I read about the history of the award and the relationship between the two Navies – the significance of this set in and I began to realize that, I am part of something much bigger than myself.”
Stensrud is the first F-35C pilot to receive this award and his name is inscribed on the perpetual trophy, housed at the National Museum of Naval Aviation in Pensacola, Fla. The Britannia Trophy is a sterling silver model of the Royal Navy “Vampire” jet fighter. This aircraft is significant because this aircraft made the first scheduled jet deck landing in the world aboard Her Majesty’s Ship (HMS) Ocean, December 1945.
The trophy was first presented to the U.S. Navy on February 21, 1957 by Vice Admiral R. Elkins, Admiral British Joint Services Mission to Vice Admiral A. Doyle, Chief of U.S. Naval Air Training aboard NAS Pensacola. The Britannia Award is one of the awards presented by Chief Naval Air Training Command (CNATRA), in conjunction with official award sponsors, for outstanding performance and achievement by individuals and units within the Naval Air Training Command (NATRACOM). The Mission of Naval Air Training Command is to train the world's finest combat quality aviation professionals, delivering them at the right time, in the right numbers, and at the right cost to a Naval Force that is where it matters, when it matters.
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