19th AF command team observe Columbus AFB pilot training mission

  • Published
  • By Airman 1st Class Jake Jacobsen
  • 14th Flying Training Wing Public Affairs
Airmen across the 14th Flying Training Wing highlighted how the wing cultivates Airmen, creates pilots and connects with one another to the 19th Air Force command team during their visit here Sept. 30-Oct. 3.

During their visit, Maj. Gen. Craig Wills, 19th Air Force commander, and Chief Master Sgt. Erik Thompson, 19th AF command chief, experienced and assessed the flow of the base as well as talked to key members about the progressions of pilot training and their professions.

“As the 19th AF commander, I look at what is immediately applicable to the Undergraduate Pilot Training enterprise,” Wills said. “First and foremost is quality instruction at an acceptable student ratio. After that, it’s access to content, the use of technology and student-centered learning. These components are the driving force of the Air Education and Training Command.”

During the first day of the visit, Wills was a guest speaker on a podcast aimed toward student pilots. The podcasts help enable students’ access to quality information during daily activities, without the formal classroom setting, like driving, working out at the gym or even while at lunch.

During the podcast, Wills conveyed his message to student pilots around the base.

“Be prepared, work harder than the person next to you, care about the mission, and have fun while you are a student,” Wills said.

Wills also noted the importance of being confident in what they do, but to also pay attention to their instructors and ask for help when they need it.

While touring the base, the 19th AF command team stopped by several important locations to include the 14th Medical Group, the BLAZE Commons, the Fitness Center, the enlisted dorms and several training squadrons to get a firsthand look at the innovative ways the base is moving forward.

Wills also addressed the pilot shortage issue and gave his stance on how instructor pilots can contribute.

“The best way instructor pilots can help this issue is by continuing to train and graduate high quality aviators,” Wills said.