Worth the Wait

Afghan National Army Air Corps Lt. Faiz Mohammed Ramaki, the first Afghan officer to receive pilot training in the United States in nearly 50 years, received his pilot wings June 12 after completing the Air Force’s aviation leadership program (ALP) at Columbus AFB, Miss. “Succeeding in the ALP is an accomplishment; but while this is a good day for me, it is a great day for my country,” said Ramaki. His ALP training included English language instruction, 25 hours of flight screening in a civil aircraft, such as a Cessna 172, 335 hours of academic and ground lessons, and approximately 167 flight hours and simulator sorties. Col. Roger Watkins, commander of Columbus’ 14th Flying Training Wing, who presented him with his silver wings, said, “You will go back to your country and share what you learned with other Air Corps pilots.” Overall, 61 Afghan pilot candidates will spend up to 30 months training in the United States. And 30 experienced Afghan Army Air Corps pilots also train up to 10 months in the US. (Columbus report by Sonic Johnson)