Class 22-03 students achieve aeronautical rating Published Dec. 10, 2021 By Airman 1st Class Jessica Haynie 14th Flying Training Wing Public Affairs COLUMBUS AIR FORCE BASE, Miss. -- Twenty-four officers graduated from Specialized Undergraduate Pilot Training class 22-03, achieving the aeronautical rating of pilot, Dec. 10, 2021, on Columbus Air Force Base, Miss. To earn this title and their Air Force wings, each student flew nearly 200 hours during a 54-week period. Along with flying, students are tasked with completing 400 hours of flight-related classroom instruction and simulator training.The graduation speaker for class 22-03, U.S. Air Force Col. Justin Spears, 14th Operations Group commander, shared advice and wisdom to the new aviators.“These young men and women are the future of our air power that is going to be feeding our Air Force in this national security environment over the next twenty years,” Spears said. The 14th OG conducts Pilot Training and Introduction to Fighter Fundamentals for more than 400 U.S. Air Force and international officers each year utilizing a fleet of 233 T-6A, T-38C and T-1A aircraft and 27 flight simulators at Columbus AFB.The prestigious Air Education and Training Command Commander’s Trophy, earned for being the most outstanding students overall, was earned by Maj. Benjamin Hammett and 2nd Lt. Thomas Awtrey. The Air Force Association Award was presented to 1st Lt. Mitchell McCulley and 2nd Lt. Megan Foster who excelled in training and embodied the principles of the association; promoting aerospace power and a strong national defense. The distinguished graduates of Class 22-03 recognized were Hammett, Awtrey and 2nd Lt. Andrew Ellison for outstanding performance in academics, officer qualities and flying abilities.“You are going to be operating in an environment that is fundamentally different than how the Air Force has operated over the last twenty years,” said Spears. “This is the absolute beginning of what is going to be a tremendous career for you all in the Air Force.” As the new pilots move onward in their careers, they will go to their respective bases and begin training on the aircraft assigned to them. Some selected officers will stay at Columbus AFB, entrusted with the position of First Assignment Instructor Pilot ensuring the continuation of training world class aviators.