On April 23, 2nd Lt. Evan Negron, a student pilot in the Euro-NATO Joint Jet Pilot Training Program at Sheppard AFB, Tex., became the last airman to train in the T-37 Tweet flight simulator before the base’s 80th Flying Training Wing retires the remainder of its Tweet aircraft this summer. “I really feel blessed and fortunate to be in the last T-37 class,” said Negron, a 25-year-old native of Salem, N.J. He added, “I think it’s neat to be part of a legacy.” The Air Force is retiring the Tweet after 50 years of service. The 80th FTW is the last unit in the Air Force to be using it for undergraduate pilot training. Other Air Education and Training Command training wings last year switched to the T-6 Texan II, the same platform that the 80th FTW has also begun incorporating. Negron’s instructor in the Tweet simulator is Wolfgang Ruhl, who has trained every ENNJPT class since the program was formed in 1981. Negron’s class is scheduled to advance to the T-38 Talon for specialized undergraduate pilot training in late June or early July. (Sheppard report by John Ingle)
The U.S. supports “a stronger and more capable” European defense, Defense Secretary Lloyd J. Austin III said during an Oct. 22 press conference in Brussels—but that defense should not duplicate the functions and capabilities of the NATO alliance.