Photo By Staff Sgt. Julie Weckerlein | U.S. Air Force mentor Maj. Mark Campbell, right, talks with Cadet Faiz Mohd Ramaki, left, from the Afghan national army (ANA) air corps prior to a mission on, July 25, at Kabul International Airport, Afghanistan. Ramaki serves as a translator and has recently been selected to be the first ANA air corps member to attend Air Force pilot training in the United States. The air corps cadet was competitively selected under the Aviation Leadership Program sponsored by the Secretary of the Air Force International Affairs office at the Pentagon, Washington, D.C. Campbell is assigned to the Combined Security Transition Command-Afghanistan.
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By Staff Sgt. Julie Weckerlein
U.S. Central Command Air Forces Public Affairs
KABUL AIR BASE, Afghanistan – An Afghan translator will soon attend Air Force pilot training in the United States as part of the service's Aviation Leadership Program, becoming the first such trained pilot in the Afghan national army air corps.
Cadet Faiz Mohd Ramaki said he is the luckiest person in all of Afghanistan because of the opportunity to attend pilot training at Laughlin Air Force Base, Texas.
"I am still shocked that I was selected," said the 25-year-old translator who has worked for various U.S. government agencies in Afghanistan for about five years. "It's still like a dream to me. I can not believe it."
The Aviation Leadership Program, sponsored by the Secretary of the Air Force International Affairs office at the Pentagon in Washington, D.C., is open to 20 countries, with each country receiving one slot in the program for a deserving candidate.
Candidates are required to pass a series of tests: they must be in good health, must speak good English and have good test scores on various aptitude tests. Each candidate is also personally interviewed.
Ramaki, who was referred to the program by Air Force officers who have worked with him while deployed to Afghanistan, scored the highest amongst his peers in all areas.
"He is a go-getter," said Col. Steele McFarlane, Combined Security Transition Command-Afghanistan operations group mentor here. "He has a good attitude and is very motivated to become an aviator."
Ramaki, who learned English during his youth at private learning centers, as well as in college in Kabul, said he is anxious to return to Afghanistan to share the knowledge he is going to learn in the United States.
"I want to help my country," he said. "Whether (the ANA air corps) uses me in operations or as an instructor, I am ready to serve."
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