July 10, 2020

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MCAA John Glenn Squadron Honors Test Pilot Thayer

MCAA John Glenn Squadron

Marine Corps Aviation Administration John Glenn Squadron, located at NAS Patuxent River, MD, honored Maj. Nathaniel Thayer as the Test Pilot of the Year, NAVAIR News reports.

Maj. Thayer, the AV-8B Joint System Support Activity military deputy for Air Test and Evaluation Squadron (VX) 31 at Naval Air Warfare Center Weapons Division China Lake, California, received the award during a ceremony Jan. 30.

The MCAA John Glenn Squadron awards Marines in three categories each year for significant contribution to, or professional achievement in, Marine aviation acquisition. This year marked the 15th annual awards.

“His steadfast commitment to excellence was crucial to enabling a rapid return to flight and flight test after two successive major earthquakes struck China Lake during the summer of 2019,” wrote Col. Steven R. Girard, John Glenn Squadron commanding officer, in Thayer’s award citation. “Major Thayer’s superb technical expertise with AV-8B systems and weapons, combined with his expert leadership of AV-8B flight test in support of Marine Corps objectives, have ensured the lethality, survivability, and relevancy of the Harrier will persist to meet the needs of the warfighter.”

As the military deputy for the AV-8B Harrier jet program at China Lake, the only AV-8B flight test team in existence, Maj. Thayer directed a high performance test team with tightly constrained funding and aircraft resourcing to ensure that testing execution completed in a timely fashion and produced data relevant to the fleet operators, according to his award nomination package.

Pictured above: Maj. Nathaniel Thayer, second from right, AV-8B Joint Systems Support Activity military deputy, is honored as the Marine Corps Aviation Administration John Glenn Squadron Test Pilot of the Year by, from left, Col. Steven Girard, commanding officer, Marine Aviation Detachment and commanding officer, MCAA John Glenn Squadron; Maj. Gen. Mark Wise, deputy commanding general, Marine Corps Combat Development Command and assistant deputy commandant for combat development and integration; and Harry Nahatis, vice president and general manager of rotorcraft and turboprop engines at GE Aviation. (Photo by Mike Wilson)

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