Columbus Leans Into Agile Rapid Excellence

  • Published
  • By 2nd Lt. Douglas Armstrong
  • 14th FTW Public Affairs

The heritage room of the 49th Fighter Training Squadron was standing room only as the first Fighter/Bomber Fundamentals class gathered for a landmark graduation ceremony, marking a new direction for United States Air Force pilot training on March 29, 2024, at Columbus Air Force Base.   

F/BF is a new pilot training syllabus following Undergraduate Pilot Training, designed to create fighter and bomber pilots by combining core competencies and training from T-38 Graduate Pilot Training with T-38 Introduction to Fighter Fundamentals.  

“The overall goal is to shorten the timeline it takes to take a student from day one UPT to being a combat mission ready fighter/bomber pilot,” said Capt. Jacob Adams, 49th Fighter Training Squadron Bravo flight commander. “The method to achieve this became what is known as F/BF.”  

The 14th Flying Training Wing is the first in the Air Force to test, modify, and execute F/BF. Aimed at increasing mission readiness, this syllabus helps rapidly codify Airmens’ competencies through innovations in training.     

“Being the first base to test F/BF will allow Columbus to be at the forefront of innovation and become a model for other Air Force UPT bases to follow,” said Adams.   

Changing the syllabus included different standards and expectations for the students. 

“There is also a bit of a higher standard that you’re held to since the instructors are training you to be an aircraft commander the day you leave the program,” said 1st Lt Dalton Scheel, F/BF graduate. “While at first it felt like a lot of pressure, it forced us all to fly and perform the best we could every day and it ended up giving us all a new personal baseline for how to approach flying as wingmen in the CAF (Combat Air Forces).” 

The 14th Operations Group and the 49th Fighter Training Squadron had a unique opportunity to locally develop and influence the new program.  Lt. Col. Richard Martin, 49th Fighter Training Squadron commander, became the first fully qualified F/BF Instructor and applied his experience to the program’s development.  

“It gave us the ability to do the right thing, for the right pilot, at the right time in their training,” said Martin. “The flexibility truly made better pilots.” 

Through the success of the initial F/BF class, the 14 OG began the process of improving the foundation for F/BF.  

“The success that we had with the F/BF syllabus is the trust that both the AETC commander and 19th Air Force commander gave to the 14th (Flying Training Wing), specifically to the Wing and the Ops group commanders and to us executing the syllabus,” said Martin. “They said execute smartly, find efficiencies where we can, and develop the next iteration of the syllabus.” 

The F/BF graduates will continue on to specialized training for their specific aircraft follow on assignments to join the ranks of pilots across the USAF.