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Prepare for takeoff, SUPT Class 21-05

U.S. Air Force Col. Edward Goebel Jr., 461st Air Control Wing, commander, speaks to the newest aviators graduating from class 21-05, Feb. 5, 2021, on Columbus Air Force Base, Miss. Sixteen officers gained the title of “Air Force pilot” after a rigorous 52-week training program. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Jessica Haynie)

U.S. Air Force Col. Edward Goebel Jr., 461st Air Control Wing, commander, speaks to the newest aviators graduating from class 21-05, Feb. 5, 2021, on Columbus Air Force Base, Miss. Sixteen officers gained the title of “Air Force pilot” after a rigorous 52-week training program. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Jessica Haynie)

S. Air Force Col. Edward Goebel Jr., 461st Air Control Wing, commander, presents, International Student Lieutenant Tok Jing Ye of the Singapore Air Forces with the Order of Daedalians AETC Commander’s Trophy and challenge coin, during the graduation ceremony, Feb. 5, 2021, on Columbus Air Force Base, Miss. The Order of Daedalians award is presented the student from each graduating class who demonstrates outstanding performance with assigned check rides, daily flying operations, as well as maintains an exceptional commander’s ranking and academic score while completing specialized undergraduate pilot training. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Jessica Haynie)

U.S. Air Force Col. Edward Goebel Jr., 461st Air Control Wing, commander, presents, International Student Lieutenant Tok Jing Ye of the Singapore Air Forces with the Order of Daedalians AETC Commander’s Trophy and challenge coin, during the graduation ceremony, Feb. 5, 2021, on Columbus Air Force Base, Miss. The Order of Daedalians award is presented the student from each graduating class who demonstrates outstanding performance with assigned check rides, daily flying operations, as well as maintains an exceptional commander’s ranking and academic score while completing specialized undergraduate pilot training. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Jessica Haynie)

COLUMBUS AIR FORCE BASE, Miss. --

COLUMBUS AIR FORCE BASE, Miss. – Columbus Air Force Base held a graduation ceremony for sixteen students from Specialized Undergraduate Pilot Training class 21-05, Feb. 5, 2021, on Columbus AFB, Miss.

Before these new aviators get their first set of wings, they must endure a rigorous 52-week training program which entails six-weeks of preflight academics and physiological training and operating trainer aircraft such as the T-6 Texan II and the T-1A Jayhawk.

U.S. Air Force Col. Edward Goebel Jr., 461st Air Control Wing, commander on Robins Air Force Base, Ga., spoke to the new aviators during the graduation ceremony, sharing his experience and advice.

Goebel said he always knew he wanted to be in the Air Force and fly, explaining that it was a little bit of a family business, adding that his father served for 22 years. Goebel stated that it was the Airmen he gets to work alongside that really keeps him going every day.

Goebel said he was thrilled and excited when asked how speaking to the newest generation of aviators felt,

“It was humbling to watch,” said Goebel. “Knowing our Air Force is always going to be in great hands because of the way we train them and the confidence that is instilled in them.”

Goebel reminded these fresh pilots that they are Airmen first and they have to set the example every single day.

“Opportunity comes from demonstrating that you are going to be the best at whatever you do, you don’t have to worry about your next rank, that will take care of itself,” said Goebel. “Be the best that you can be and be the best wingman.”

Goebel mentioned how the Air Force is going through some challenging times and the importance of remembering they are Airmen and to look out for each other.

“We need to build that trust with each other,” said Goebel. “So that one day when we go into combat, we aren’t worried about these things because we took the time and invested in building trust, connections, and credibility with each other. We know we can bank on each other to get the job done.”

The newly graduated aviators will embark on their next journey, continuing onward to their assigned bases and starting training on their designated aircraft.