MOODY AIR FORCE BASE, GA (WALB) - Moody Air Force Base now has the first of 20 planes that will be used to train Afghan Airmen.
The first A-29 Super Tucano Aircraft touched down at Moody just after 11 a.m. Friday, and that meant the mission to train 90 Afghan maintenance personnel and 30 Afghan pilots over the next four years was one step closer to getting started.
"The first part of our training is focused on initial qualification," said Lt. Col. Jeff Hogan. Hogan is one of the first Airmen at Moody who will train on the A-29 in order to become an instructor pilot for the Afghan Airmen when they arrive. "Then we transition to mission training, which is teaching them how to employ ordnance off the aircraft and work some very specific mission sets."
The first round of 8 pilots and 26 maintainers are scheduled to arrive at the base in February of 2015. Hogan ensured citizens that the Afghan Airmen are experienced and that they won't be flying the planes all by themselves. "They are not new pilots, they will be very experienced. And, we will always be flying in the aircraft with them," Hogan emphasized.
The pilots and maintainers will be housed on base, but they will also have opportunities to go off base. "They will be doing some organized activities outside the base to learn about American culture," said Hogan.
He added that this mission will be a great experience for both Moody and the Afghan Airmen. "It's gonna be a great opportunity for us to interact with the Afghans," said Hogan. "We'll be teaching them, but we'll be learning from them as well."
Two more Super Tucano Aircraft are expected to arrive by the end of October.