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Pleus speaks to SUPT Class 19-03, gives them many words of advice

Maj. Gen. Scott Pleus, director of plans, programs, and requirements at Air Combat Command Headquarters at Joint Base Langley-Eustis, Virginia, was the guest speaker for Specialized Undergraduate Pilot Training Class 19-03, Dec. 14, 2018, on Columbus Air Force Base, Mississippi. Pleus graduated from Columbus AFB 28 years ago and was able to tour the facilities again during his visit as a graduation speaker. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Keith Holcomb)

Maj. Gen. Scott Pleus, director of plans, programs, and requirements at Air Combat Command Headquarters at Joint Base Langley-Eustis, Virginia, was the guest speaker for Specialized Undergraduate Pilot Training Class 19-03, Dec. 14, 2018, on Columbus Air Force Base, Mississippi. Pleus graduated from Columbus AFB 28 years ago and was able to tour the facilities again during his visit as a graduation speaker. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Keith Holcomb)

Specialized Undergraduate Pilot Training students stand and clap to recognize instructor pilots during their graduation Dec. 14, 2018, on Columbus Air Force Base, Mississippi. Maj. Gen. Scott Pleus, director of plans, programs, and requirements at Air Combat Command Headquarters at Joint Base Langley-Eustis, Virginia, was the guest speaker for SUPT Class 19-03. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Keith Holcomb)

Specialized Undergraduate Pilot Training students stand and clap to recognize instructor pilots during their graduation Dec. 14, 2018, on Columbus Air Force Base, Mississippi. Maj. Gen. Scott Pleus, director of plans, programs, and requirements at Air Combat Command Headquarters at Joint Base Langley-Eustis, Virginia, was the guest speaker for SUPT Class 19-03. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Keith Holcomb)

COLUMBUS AIR FORCE BASE, Miss. -- Maj. Gen. Scott Pleus, director of plans, programs, and requirements at Air Combat Command Headquarters at Joint Base Langley-Eustis, Virginia, was the guest speaker for Specialized Undergraduate Pilot Training Class 19-03, Dec. 14, here.

He acknowledged the incredible accomplishments of the students receiving their silver wings, but asked they don’t forget to be thankful of those who helped them get there, he reminded the students of the Air Forces ability as a service paved by Airmen before them, and he told them throughout their time they need to stay positive by cultivating a good character and cultivating wingmen.

“The opportunity to go back and talk with the next generation of our Air Force is really important. I think we have a responsibility as senior leaders, both enlisted and officer, to go back and mentor those young people. My time left in the Air Force is fleeting and it’s their Air Force they are stepping into. It’s hard to believe it was 28 years ago I walked across that stage.”

Reminding the students their time just began, they still have had thousands of Airmen who’ve helped them reach this point, and he reminded the students to thank those they can.

“Coming back [to a pilot training wing] you get to see how much the base really plays a role in creating our pilots,” Pleus said. “The instructor pilots, the folks in the tower, and the medical group you work with every day, but all the [support agencies surrounding them] has got to be the biggest surprise.”

Pleus made sure to recognize those who helped the pilots, from the support agencies to instructor pilots themselves, but noted student pilots have spent many hours studying and flying to reach this stage.

“It’s important for the young pilots to work just as hard as they did in pilot training no matter what unit they are assigned to,” Pleus said. “… I think in pilot training you think it’s just something to get through, and the intensity and workload is something that will end after pilot training when in reality it’s just beginning.”

He explained to the students there are only about 60,000 officers in the Air Force and even fewer are pilots. He reminded them flying hours don’t make up for bad leadership skills or other character flaws.

He left them with a few words of wisdom, sticking this fact about the Air Force in the air. Pleus holds tight the accomplishments of past and present Airmen, and acknowledged SUPT Class 19-03 will continue to complete missions that will change the future.

“We’re the only service with the word fight in our motto,” Pleus said. “In the Army, ‘This we’ll defend’; in the Navy, ‘Forged by the sea; the Marine Corps, Semper Fi; the U.S. Air Force it’s ‘Fly, Fight, And Win,’ don’t forget that.”