Vaughan’s advice to the newest aviators: ‘Master your craft’

  • Published
  • By Airman 1st Class Jake Jacobsen
  • 14th Flying Training Wing Public Affairs

Brig. Gen. Edward Vaughan, the Special Assistant to the Director of Training and Readiness, Deputy Chief of Staff for Operations, congratulated 34 of the Air Force’s and partner nations’ newest pilots during the Specialized Undergraduate Pilot Training Class 19-10/16’s graduation ceremony May 31 at the Kaye Auditorium here.

These new practitioners of airpower have honed their piloting skills, and now go to their first duty assignment where they’ve been assigned an aircraft to master.

Vaughan recalled the day he completed pilot training 23 years ago as he received his pilot wings at Columbus Air force Base as well as the guest speaker he had for his graduation.

“I sat right where you are to get my pilot wings and I cannot tell you anything our guest speaker had to say but I do vividly remember who the guest speaker was,” said Vaughan. “I very vividly remember what role my guest speaker had to play in our nation’s airpower history.”

Vaughan framed his remarks around the Air Forces mission to fly, fight and win. He assured the graduating class that they would remember this for the rest of their career because the mission will always be to fly, fight and win for them.

“When I say ‘to fly’ I am saying that is your job right now and for the near future,” Vaughan said. “You are going to be tempted and distracted by very many things, so I am going to ask you to compartmentalize those things and fly … Get in the books because the best thing you can do is master your craft, get out there, and be victorious.”

In Vaughan’s speech he mentioned that there are people around the world, to include the Pentagon, that don’t think we need humans in aircraft any longer. Disagreeing with this idea, he wanted the graduating class to prove him right by becoming great aviators and asked of them if nothing else to demand to fly by hanging out at the scheduling desk and getting on those sorties.

Vaughan wanted to assure the new pilots that it is acceptable to fail as long as when they do they convert it into a lesson that can be built upon so that next time it is done better.

“I have failed before but I don’t look back on them as failures or things to regret because I believe I can learn a lot more from failure,” Vaughan said. “So what I bring to the table is 25 years of practice, taking risks, failing, learning, and moving forward.”

He stated that the next big war might not look like the last one, but airpower will be vital to victory. Also he said our competitors around the world have already begun the fight in domains that deal in information, finances, influence, regional peace and stability.

“Everybody has come from some different background and everyone has a story,” Vaughan said. “I don’t care what language your family spoke growing up, what your gender or ethnic background is. I don’t care how tall or short you are and the jet doesn’t care either. When called upon, do your job exactly how you know how to do it and fight. That is how we will win.”

Vaughan thought it was important to remark that the U.S. is a place training pilots from all over the world. When the U.S. receives international pilots to go through training together and graduate with one another, it becomes an international community of pilots.

This connection will pay off the next time peace is formed or a disaster strikes, Vaughan said, we will have these networks of international aviators to come together and be much more effective.