Air Force Times
April 30, 2007
First class of Iraqis begins Air Force Training School
TAJI, Iraq — The Iraqi air force is not a young man’s service. The ranks are filled with officers who served under Saddam Hussein, and most of the pilots are in their 40s or 50s.
With some help from the Air Force, the Iraqis have taken a step toward building their air force of the future. They welcomed the first class into training April 16 at the Air Force Training School here. The new school’s temporary campus is at the Iraqis’ Taji Air Base.
“We are trying to open the accession pipeline because no one has accessed into the Iraqi air force since Saddam,” said Lt. Col. Kim Hawthorne, deputy director of the school, which is part of the U.S. Air Force’s Coalition Air Force Transition Team.
The first class comprises 13 cadets in the three-month air force academy officer program and eight in the 45-day basic technical training course.
The officer course, taught by two officers from the Officer Training School at Maxwell Air Force Base, Ala., covers roughly the same curriculum as the U.S. school: profession of arms, leadership, management, aerospace doctrine, communication skills and combat preparation.
The technical course covers maintenance supervision and is for both officers and enlisted airmen.
The first basic enlisted training class of around 50 students is slated to begin May 5.
The Americans want the new airmen they are training to become instructors themselves, creating a self-sustaining service.
“The goal is to eliminate my job in Iraq in the future,” said Maj. Brian Musselman, chief of basic technical training. — Erik Holmes