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AF Academy superintendent challenges SUPT 18-11 during graduation

Lt. Gen. Jay Silveria, U.S. Air Force Academy superintendent, speaks to Specialized Undergraduate Pilot Training Class 18-11 during their graduation ceremony June 29, 2018, on Columbus Air Force Base, Mississippi. Each SUPT class has a graduation breakfast, ceremony and dinner to celebrate their accomplishments over the past 13 months. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Keith Holcomb)

Lt. Gen. Jay Silveria, U.S. Air Force Academy superintendent, speaks to Specialized Undergraduate Pilot Training Class 18-11 during their graduation ceremony June 29, 2018, on Columbus Air Force Base, Mississippi. Each SUPT class has a graduation breakfast, ceremony and dinner to celebrate their accomplishments over the past 13 months. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Keith Holcomb)

Specialized Undergraduate Pilot Training Class 18-11 stands before their graduation ceremony June 29, 2018, on Columbus Air Force Base, Mississippi. Every three weeks a pilot graduation ceremony is takes place to welcome the next generation of military aviators. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Keith Holcomb)

Specialized Undergraduate Pilot Training Class 18-11 stands before their graduation ceremony June 29, 2018, on Columbus Air Force Base, Mississippi. Every three weeks a pilot graduation ceremony is takes place to welcome the next generation of military aviators. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Keith Holcomb)

Lt. Gen. Jay Silveria, U.S. Air Force Academy superintendent, is saluted by student pilots before entering the Kaye Auditorium to deliver his speech at Specialized Undergraduate Pilot Training Class 18-11’s graduation ceremony June 29, 2018, on Columbus Air Force Base, Mississippi. Every three weeks a pilot graduation ceremony is takes place to welcome the next generation of military aviators. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Keith Holcomb)

Lt. Gen. Jay Silveria, U.S. Air Force Academy superintendent, is saluted by student pilots before entering the Kaye Auditorium to deliver his speech at Specialized Undergraduate Pilot Training Class 18-11’s graduation ceremony June 29, 2018, on Columbus Air Force Base, Mississippi. Every three weeks a pilot graduation ceremony is takes place to welcome the next generation of military aviators. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Keith Holcomb)

COLUMBUS AIR FORCE BASE, Miss. -- Lt. Gen. Jay Silveria, U.S. Air Force Academy superintendent, spoke during Specialized Undergraduate Pilot Training Class 18-11’s graduation June 29 on Columbus Air Force Base, Mississippi.

As Silveria addressed the Air Force’s newest aviators, he delivered a powerful speech that spoke to and challenged not only them, but each pilot, officer and leader in the room.

“It’s always about doing the absolute best at the job you’ve been given,” Silveria said. “I didn’t want to be a first term instructor pilot … but the lesson I learned was that’s what the Air Force needed and I needed to be the best ‘fill in the blank I could be,’ and if they needed an instructor pilot I’d be the best instructor I could be.”

Silveria spoke about the multitude of missions each pilot may be completing in the next few years. Then as he glanced at the 20 graduates, he mentioned some by name, and explained a possible scenario they may find themselves why flying aircraft they’ve been assigned.

The second point was to challenge the graduates to make this their Air Force. He said the Air Force won’t need them to make what his generation does more efficient. He encouraged them instead to make it their own Air Force and make it better with innovation and perseverance.

Going back to his time as a FAIP, he said the satisfaction of being an instructor allowed him to cherish that first assignment.

“The chance to be with the kind of people that want to serve, that want to work hard, that want have an impact, that care about what they’re doing … I can’t imagine doing anything with anyone else,” Silveria said.

The graduation of a new pilot adds another hand at the stick, controlling a weapon system in support of operations across the globe, and Silveria said he’s glad to see another group of outstanding officers join the aviation community.

“As the Air Force Academy superintendent I am responsible for turning the 18 year olds ultimately into lieutenants,” Silveria said. “I get to see the accessioning of lieutenants and it’s so exciting to be here today to see what these lieutenants become.”