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SUPT Class 21-01 graduates, enters next chapter in aviation

U.S. Air Force and international student pilots from class 21-01 clap for one of their fellow classmates heading to the stage Oct. 23, 2020, on Columbus Air Force Base Miss. As a result of COVID-19 restrictions the graduation was live streamed to Facebook on the Columbus AFB page for viewers not in attendance. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Jake Jacobsen)

U.S. Air Force and international student pilots from class 21-01 clap for one of their fellow classmates heading to the stage Oct. 23, 2020, on Columbus Air Force Base Miss. As a result of COVID-19 restrictions the graduation was live streamed to Facebook on the Columbus AFB page for viewers not in attendance. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Jake Jacobsen)

U.S. Air Force Col. Scott Wiederholt, 305th Air Mobility Wing commander, speaks to the Specialized Undergraduate Pilot Training class of 21-01 during their graduation ceremony Oct. 23, 2020, on Columbus Air Force Base, Miss. Wiederholt is a command pilot with over 4,400 hours in the C-17A, C-21A, T-1A, and T-37B, including 940 combat hours. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Jake Jacobsen)

U.S. Air Force Col. Scott Wiederholt, 305th Air Mobility Wing commander, speaks to the Specialized Undergraduate Pilot Training class of 21-01 during their graduation ceremony Oct. 23, 2020, on Columbus Air Force Base, Miss. Wiederholt is a command pilot with over 4,400 hours in the C-17A, C-21A, T-1A, and T-37B, including 940 combat hours. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Jake Jacobsen)

The graduating class of 21-01 stands to break their silver wings in half Oct. 23, 2020, on Columbus Air Force Base Miss. The traditional breaking of the wings symbolizes the sacrifice made to the pilots who put their lives on the line for their country. The two halves are never to be brought together again while the pilot is alive. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Jake Jacobsen)

The graduating class of 21-01 stands to break their silver wings in half Oct. 23, 2020, on Columbus Air Force Base Miss. The traditional breaking of the wings symbolizes the sacrifice made to the pilots who put their lives on the line for their country. The two halves are never to be brought together again while the pilot is alive. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Jake Jacobsen)

COLUMBUS AIR FROCE BASE, Miss. -- Nineteen student officers from the class of 21-01 have successfully graduated from Specialized Undergraduate Pilot Training Oct. 23, on Columbus Air Force Base, Mississippi, moving on to the next stage in their careers.

Attending the ceremony was guest speaker Col. Scott Wiederholt, 305th Air Mobility Wing commander, who congratulated the newly graduated pilots for earning their wings.

“Our Chief of Staff of the Air Force has challenged leaders to accelerate change so we need the folks that are coming in to be able to think differently, get after innovation and excel in their next job,” Wiederholt said.

Wielderholt described the joy of leading and being a part of a team to execute the Air Force mission globally.

“We don’t go to conflict without our friends and our allies,” said Wiederholt. “When we have those international partners here at Columbus AFB it helps the student pilots get new ideas and create relations from the very start. It’s one of the unique things about our Air Force being how we integrate with our international players.”

Students begin the 52-week pilot training program with six-weeks of preflight academics and physiological training.

The second phase, primary training, is conducted in the single-engine, turboprop T-6A Texan II. In the third phase students are selected, by order of merit, the advanced training in the fighter-bomber or airlift-tanker track.

The graduation ceremony ended with the graduating class following the tradition of breaking their wings into two pieces. The breaking of the wings entails pilots snapping their first set of wings into two, never to be brought together again while the pilot is alive. One half is kept by the pilot while the other half is kept by the pilots loved one.

Some of the highlighted aircraft the graduating class will go on to fly are the F-15 Eagle, F-16 Fighting Falcon, F-35 Lightning II, KC-10 Extender, KC-135 Stratotanker C-5 Galaxy, C-17 Globemaster III, and the C-130 Hercules.

Selected students will stay at Columbus AFB becoming First Assignment Instructor Pilots in order to continue the training of new Air Force aviators.