Kirklin assumes command of the 41st Buzzsaws

  • Published
  • By Senior Airman Jake Jacobsen
  • 14th Flying Training Wing Public Affairs
U.S. Air Force Lt. Col. Russell Kirklin gained command of the 41st Flying Training Squadron during a change of command ceremony held at the Walker Center, Dec 16, 2021, on Columbus Air Force Base, Miss.

Before Kirklin assumed command of the 41st FTS, Lt. Col. Timothy Thoren was leading the squadron in their mission to train future Air Force military aviators in Specialized Undergraduate Pilot Training in the T-6A Texan II.

Thoren lead the 41st FTS Buzzsaws to the creation of over 300 pilots while dealing with a global pandemic and a syllabus overhaul. He set out to try and restore normalcy in daily operations, improve instructor pilot and student relationships, and create better training environments.

“Soon I will pass the guidon and with it the so called ‘burden of command’, but I want the buzzsaws to know that it hasn’t been a burden at all,” said Thoren. “It has been an absolute blessing and I thank you for an incredible 22 months. It has been an honor serving with everyone.”

The 41st FTS also trains partner nation military pilots each year through both the Foreign Military Sales program and the International Aviation Leadership program. Foreign pilots train in the T-6 before moving to the next track flying more advanced aircraft like the T-38 Talon or T-1A Jayhawk.

Kirklin addressed the Buzzsaws as their commander for the first time at the ceremony and expressed his eagerness for the opportunities that will arise in the future. He also made 3 commitments as their leader.

“First I will do my best to be a happy leader,” said Kirklin. “Second, I will use this position for good and finally, I will expect a lot from the members of the 41st. I will give you everything I have as I serve as your commander and I will not give up.”