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That’s a Wrap

Graduates from Specialized Undergraduate Pilot Training class 21-16, break their first pair of wings, during their graduation ceremony, Oct. 1, 2021, on Columbus Air Force Base, Miss. (Per tradition, pilots will keep one half of the broken wings and give the second half to a loved one. The two halves are never to be brought back together while the pilot is still alive.  (U.S Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Jessica Haynie)

Graduates from Specialized Undergraduate Pilot Training class 21-16, break their first pair of wings, during their graduation ceremony, Oct. 1, 2021, on Columbus Air Force Base, Miss. (Per tradition, pilots will keep one half of the broken wings and give the second half to a loved one. The two halves are never to be brought back together while the pilot is still alive. (U.S Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Jessica Haynie)

U.S Air Force Specialized Undergraduate Pilot Training graduates, stand at attention during the playing of the Guatemalan, Japanese, and United States National Anthems, Oct.1, 2021, on Columbus Air Force Base, Miss. Thirty-two officers graduated in class 21-16, becoming the U.S. Air Forces newest aviators. (U.S Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Jessica Haynie)

U.S Air Force Specialized Undergraduate Pilot Training graduates, stand at attention during the playing of the Guatemalan, Japanese, and United States National Anthems, Oct.1, 2021, on Columbus Air Force Base, Miss. Thirty-two officers graduated in class 21-16, becoming the U.S. Air Forces newest aviators. (U.S Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Jessica Haynie)

U.S. Air Force 2nd Lt. Alexandre Jeremie, Specialized Undergraduate Pilot Training graduate, stands at attention at his graduation ceremony, Oct. 1, 2021, on Columbus Air Force Base, Miss. Jeremie is assigned to the 105th Airlift Wing, Stewart Air National Guard Base, New York, where he will begin training on the C-17. (U.S Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Jessica Haynie)

U.S. Air Force 2nd Lt. Alexandre Jeremie, Specialized Undergraduate Pilot Training graduate, stands at attention at his graduation ceremony, Oct. 1, 2021, on Columbus Air Force Base, Miss. Jeremie is assigned to the 105th Airlift Wing, Stewart Air National Guard Base, New York, where he will begin training on the C-17. (U.S Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Jessica Haynie)

COLUMBUS AIR FORCE BASE, Miss. -- Class 21-16, the final fiscal year 2021 Specialized Undergraduate Pilot Training class, graduated thirty-two aviators, Oct. 1, 2021, on Columbus Air Force Base, Miss.

These officers have prevailed throughout 52 weeks of challenging training, earning the right to become Air Force pilots.

U.S Air Force Col. David Fazenbaker, 62nd Airlift Wing, commander, Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Wash., returned to Columbus AFB to deliver the graduation speech.

As a command pilot and the previous 14th Flying Training Wing vice commander, Fazenbaker had plenty to share with the newest pilots of the world’s greatest Air Force.

“You need to figure out why you are doing this because [the Air Force] is about to ask you to do some extraordinary things and it is going to be exhausting,” said Fazenbaker. “In order to do those things, and do them successfully, you have to be focused on the real reason you are doing it, and that’s the ‘why’.”

The year-long pilot training program begins with a six-week preflight phase of academics and physiological training to prepare students for flight. The second phase, primary training, is conducted in the single-engine, turboprop T-6A Texan II at Columbus Air Force Base, Mississippi. Students learn aircraft flight characteristics, emergency procedures, takeoff and landing procedures, aerobatics and formation flying. Students also practice night, instrument and cross country navigation flying.

“Congratulations,” said Fazenbaker. “Be proud of what you have done and get ready for what is coming your way.”

After graduation these pilots will depart Columbus Air Force Base and begin their next journey to train in their respective aircraft.