By Ashley Rader
Treadway’s own Navy training led to a role that included teaching aircrew members how to handle low pressure, low oxygen and unexpected situations.
It was his own goal of earning a medical degree that led Treadway to enlist in the Navy to gain a scholarship to help pay for college.
The knowledge gained in medical school resulted in a position as an aerospace physiologist, where he was able to help train the Navy’s pilots.
Treadway entered medical school at the University of Tennessee in 1976 on a Navy scholarship. He finished two years of medical school at UT and enlisted in the Navy to fulfill his obligation. Because of his background taking classes in medical school, he was given the assignment of aerospace physiologist. He said the details of the scholarship required one year of service for each year of school the Navy helped to pay for.
He was stationed at the Naval Aerospace Medical Institute, or NAMI, in Pensacola, Fla., from June 1979 to June 1982. Treadway completed six months of training before starting work as a physiologist.
He packed basic training, some primary flight training and survival skill training into those six months.
“They tried to put us through as much flight training as possible,” Treadway said. “Some of the guys had flown before and made it all the way through. I made it about half-way. I had not flown before, so one of the guys in my class who had a private plane took me up in it before we started so I could have a feel for it.”
After the six-month period, Treadway was given his wings — and his orders.
The 103rd flight physiologist to gain wings from NAMI, he was one of three Navy members selected to remain in Pensacola at the medical institute, and was charged with training the aircrew members who were stationed at NAMI.