Class 22-04 graduates, earns their wings

  • Published
  • By Senior Airman Davis Donaldson
  • 14th Flying Training Wing
Twenty-four officers prevailed after a year of training, earning the right to become Air Force pilots. Specialized Undergraduate Pilot Training Class 22-04 earned their wings at their graduation ceremony on January 18 at Columbus Air Force Base, Mississippi.

Col. Benjamin Jonsson, 6th Air Refueling Wing commander at MacDill AFB, Florida, was the distinguished speaker for the event.

He first thanked the friends and families for attending. He then motivated the graduates through various points he has learned throughout his career.

“This is very exciting for me to be back here after 21 years since graduating,” Jonsson said. “I’m excited for your big day, getting those wings and celebrating what is an incredible accomplishment. I’m so proud of you and happy to be here for it.”

Jonsson, himself, graduated SUPT at Columbus AFB 21 years ago. At Columbus AFB, he was selected to fly the C-17 Globemaster III. Since graduating, he has accumulated over 3,700 hours as a command pilot.

To graduate from SUPT, Class 22-04 had to complete a demanding 52-week course, comprised of academics, physiological training, and flight training in the T-6A Texan II, T-1A Jayhawk, and T-38C Talon.

Jonsson expressed his love for flying and said the pilots have earned their right.

“There is something special about flying,” Jonsson said. “I certainly caught that love here at Columbus AFB. Flying is reserved for those who work for it and you guys worked for it.”

After expressing his gratitude for the hard work the pilots have put in, he said their work is only beginning. Jonsson gave different points for the pilots to be successful in their future endeavors.
Jonnson said they should be like a sponge, be bold and not afraid to fail.

“As you go forward, today, let me just encourage you one more time,” he said. “As you hit your new squadrons, be a sponge, with integrity first, be a great teammate, with service before self, and be bold with excellence in all you do.”

Jonsson congratulated the new aviators one more time and thanked the family and friends for attending.

Having received their wings, the graduates will move onward to their respective bases and begin training on the aircraft designated to them. Some selected officers will stay at Columbus AFB, entrusted with the position of a First Assignment Instructor Pilot (FAIP) to continue the training of world-class aviators.