COLUMBUS AIR FORCE BASE, Miss. --
Col. William Denham started his reign as the new 14th Flying Training Wing Vice Commander meeting with Col. Stan Lawrie, 14th Operations Group Commander, and other leaders of the 14th OG July 11 on Columbus Air Force Base, Mississippi.
Much of the new Vice Commander’s morning was filled with greetings and meetings of every aspect; Denham sat in and was introduced to the leaders’ backgrounds and capabilities within the group.
Before they got into the numbers and details of the 14th OG, Denham wanted to be clear he was only told the truth.
“I don’t want a dog and pony show, give me all the punches,” Denham said.
Lawrie then had a 30-minute brief on his group’s numbers pertaining to the pilot training operations.
After the briefing Denham was shown around the 14th OG building and led into the neighboring 37th and 41st Flying Training Squadrons.
Being shown around the T-6 Texan II squadrons Denham asked questions and was introduced to more details specific to the squadrons’ pilot production.
“We are the heart of Columbus Air Force Base, as far as the T-6 program,” said Lt. Col. Derek Oakley, 41st FTS Commander.
From the T-6 squadrons Denham was shown the 49th FTS, the flying squadron that produces pilots for the T-38 Talon.
Denham then met with Lt. Col. Nathan Smith, the 49th FTS the 50th FTS Commander.
Smith briefed Denham on topics regarding everything from the aircraft’s maintenance to the students and instructor pilots flying time and capabilities.
To complete the student pilot squadrons Denham visited the 48th FTS to learn about the T-1A Jayhawk and the 48th FTS’s mission.
“We produce some amazing pilots here, sir,” said Lt. Col. Alan Hietpas, 48th FTS Director of Operations, in regards to the many extra hours in various areas of training the T-1 student pilots see in their time at the 43rd FTS.
Constructive information was distributed in the forms of graphs and data tables to visually show what every squadron was capable of.
Last was for Denham to visit the air traffic control tower and radar room.
The rooms provided Airmen to step into the briefing role and let Airman 1st Class Spencer Hurlburt explain the impact of each unit inside the Radar Approach and Control Building and the Control Tower.
“Every tower is different and Columbus is unique because of the three runways,” said Master Sgt. Garrick Christian, 14th Operations Support Squadron Chief Controller.
Denham then met back at the 14th OG building to completet his first immersion into Columbus Air Force Base.