Thanks for posting this. This is just my little thank you from my group here in Kabul, Afghanistan. The sticks on the bench are from all the great BOTLs here on Puff. ONce again thanks everyone for donating to our cause.
Previous Image 1 of 11 Next Image
Turning over operations
Garry Argent, a maintenance contractor, prepares a T-6 Texan II aircraft for one of the last joint training missions between the 52nd Expeditionary Flying Training Squadron and the Iraqi air force Squadron 203 Sept. 4, 2011, at Camp Speicher, Iraq. The 52nd EFTS turned over flight operations to the Iraqi air force Sept. 5. The Iraqi training squadron has 11 instructor pilots trained and ready to carry the torch. (U.S. Air Force photo/Staff Sgt. Mike Meares)
T-6 advisory mission ceases, Iraqi pilots teach their own
Posted 9/21/2011 Updated 9/21/2011 Email story Print story
by Staff Sgt. Mike Meares and Senior Airman Patrick McKenna
321st Air Expeditionary Wing and U.S. Air Forces Central Public Affairs
9/21/2011 - CAMP SPEICHER, Iraq -- "Iraqi air power starts here," are the words hanging above the doorway of the Iraqi air force's Squadron 203, a T-6A Texas II flight training squadron at Tikrit Air Base, Iraq.
The words ring true, in part, because of the efforts of the U.S. Air Force's 52nd Expeditionary Flying Training Squadron, which flew its last Iraqi training mission under the current security agreement with Squadron 203 Sept. 5. Eleven qualified Iraqi T-6 instructor pilots have emerged from the joint program, creating organic pilot training capabilities within the IqAF.
"They are the foundation of the Iraqi air force pilot training," said Lt. Col. Andy Hamann, 52nd EFTS commander, deployed from Vance Air Force Base, Okla.
Airmen from the 52nd EFTS have been working with the IqAF for the last 21 months in the T-6, conducting primary flight training and instructor pilot training. The single-engine, two-seat T-6 is used by more than six countries as a primary fixed wing trainer, including the U.S. Air Force and U.S. Navy.
The squadron received delivery of their first T-6 Dec. 16, 2009, performing their first mission two weeks later. A little more than one year later, IqAF Lt. Col. Hamid, the Iraqi Squadron 203 commander, became the first fully qualified instructor pilot for Iraq.
It takes nearly 18-months and more than 280 flight and simulator hours to produce an instructor pilot to carry on the torch. Now, the squadron has 11 fully qualified instructor pilots ready to lead their air force by teaching others. Starting with nothing, the IqAF has developed fully functional training shops ranging from training, standardization and evaluation, safety, flight commanders and life support.
"They've really stepped up to the challenge of running their own squadron," said Capt. Aaron Knight, an instructor pilot deployed from Columbus Air Force Base, Miss. "They're shining examples of good pilots and good officers. I'm extremely impressed with the maturity they have shown."
The flight standard they have set is another aspect of the mission the advisors have worked hard to maintain.
"The standard we've held here as we trained the Iraqis is the same standard we use in our Air Force pilot training as well as the instructor pilot training," Hamann said. "I'm confident they are able to take this mission."
At the IqAF T-6 instructor pilot graduation ceremony held on Sept. 5, Hamann noted, "I hope that in the skies around this region and around the globe, our two air forces, the USAF and IqAF, and our pilots will fly together in missions beyond the training missions we are doing here; potentially humanitarian assistance missions and peace keeping missions in cargo aircraft, coalition operations and training exercises in fighter and mobility aircraft and as well as other missions."
In addition to their mission advising, training and assisting the Iraqi air force to grow foundational and enduring capabilities in flight training, they have established enduring professional and personal relationships.
"What I'm most proud of are the relationships this squadron has built together," Hamann said. "We've had more than 50 individuals come through the 52nd EFTS over the last two years to train the Iraqis. The camaraderie on the flightline, in the briefing rooms, and in the life support areas is really strong."
Ten more students are in the training pipeline now, and possibly 15 to 20 more will be by the end of the year. The goal is to eventually have 30 instructor pilots, two for every T-6 aircraft in the inventory.
"I've had a good experience working with the 52nd training squadron and learning from the expert American pilots," said IqAF Abood, one of the first certified Iraqi instructor pilots. "(Now) I will try to transfer what I've learned to the new Iraqi training pilots. We will always keep the bar up. Our goal is to help build a strong air force and I think the beginnings of that will happen at Squadron 203."
According to Hamann, if the United States and Iraq sign a future security agreement, the 52nd EFTS may return to assist Squadron 203 in both pilot training and instructor pilot training.
No comments yet.
Add a comment
321st AEW, Sather AB
View All RSS RSS feed
tabHeadlines RSS feed
Prime BEEF Squadron combines Air Force, Army engineers
T-6 advisory mission ceases, Iraqi pilots teach their own
Sather Airmen carry the Colors to honor the US Air Force
Airman trains Iraqi technicians, focuses on self improvement
Aircrew flight equipment Airmen train Iraqis on life support mission | VIDEO
Leaders issue Air Force birthday message | VIDEO
Sather Air Base remembers 9/11
Iraqi airman makes history, ready to control skies
Guys, I've been bombed by some of the best. And they were incredible and wonderful bombs. But, I got a bomb today that was one of the most humbling bombs I've recieved yet. First the picture...
The certificate, since it's hard to read says:
A Co, 1-10 AVN (Attack) Deathstalkers
FOB Shank, Afghanistan
This US Flag Was Flown For:
This flag was flown during a combat mission over the skies of Afghanistan in an AH-64D Apache Longbow in support of Operation Enduring Freedom on September 11th, 2011.
I have no words to describe the honor I feel to recieve such an unbelievable gift. I am truly humbled. Thank you so much Anthony!
Tracy aka Jumpmaster a freind of Russ one of my new friends here WA who just got sent to Afghanistan a month ahead of me being able to herf and meet him in person. Anyway he is one of many we send to but Tracy is from my area. so he sent me some Love back in a way I can't beat!!
Thank You for serving and for this great Honor you sent me including This Beautiful American Flag and Certification as well as these great challenge coins. I am Honored brother!
Guys, I got hit again! This time Thom (Shortfuse) hit me but good. The generosity of these soldiers absolutely amaze me. After all these guys have to deal with and they still find time to commit acts of kindness like this! Once again, I'm incredibly honored and truly humbled! Thank you so much Thom. Check these pics out folks!
Check out the sweet EOD and scorpion stickers above!
The certificate says this was flown for me on July 4th, 2011! I love the motto. We shall conquer, in spite of Hell!
Very cool "all weather" notebook! Sweet!
And last but certainly not least. An incredible challenge coin! Here's one side.