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Military pilots meet with local leaders


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U.S. Navy and Marine pilots leading or participating in basic aviator training took some time from their schedules to meet with Roswell business leaders during a Wednesday afternoon reception at Los Cerritos restaurant on North Main Street. From left are Irma Perez, business development manager with the Roswell-Chaves County Economic Development Corp.; Will Cavin, chairman of the Chaves County Board of Commissioners and the EDC board of directors; Lt. Justin Gifford; Mike Espiritu, EDC president; and Lt. Cmdr. Aaron Howell. Pilot training is overseen by the Chief of Naval Air Training (CNATRA) based in Corpus Christi, Texas, but Howell’s VT-28 squadron and Gifford’s VT-27 squadron are putting the mild weather of Roswell and the Air Center’s runways and facilities to use until about April 6. The VT-28 squadron consists of nine instructors and about 13 student pilots, while about 12 instructors and 24 student pilots are with the VT-27 squadron. Gifford says it is his second time at the Air Center and appreciates the “ease of operations” and the Roswell community’s friendliness and support. Howell is in Roswell for the first time and said the squadrons are doing about 40 sorties a day. “It is going great,” he said. “We are doing a lot of great training.” (Lisa Dunlap Photo)

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Lisa Dunlap is a general assignment reporter for the Roswell Daily Record.