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    Laughlin and AETC: A legacy of air power



    Story by Senior Airman David Phaff 

    47th Flying Training Wing Public Affairs

    LAUGHLIN AIR FORCE BASE, Texas -- Every year, hundreds of U.S. Air Force pilots earn their wings and embark on a journey to stake their claim in the pages of history. For 80 years, each and every pilots’ story has started from within the Air Education Training Command.
    Laughlin Air Force Base has been training pilots for nearly 50 of the 80 years since the MAJCOM’s activation Jan. 23, 1942. Coincidently, the base also celebrates an 80th anniversary in 2022. Together, working hand in hand, AETC and Laughlin train the best pilots America and her allies have to offer.
    “Laughlin is a critical piece of our undergraduate pilot training enterprise,” said U.S. Air Force Maj. Gen. William Spangenthal, Air Education and Training Command deputy commander. “Without Laughlin, we’re never going to create the number of pilots that we need to not only prepare for the future, but to be ready for today.”
    The future of our air superiority is built on the foundation that was laid in 1942. Throughout everyone's Air Force career, they will spend time in AETC learning not only their job, but also what it means to be a United States Airman.
    “Today, AETC continues to build on its incredible heritage as the First Command, marked by exceptional Airmen and dedicated professionals who are ready to perform the mission anywhere, anytime,” said U.S. Air Force Lt. Gen. Brad Webb, AETC commander.
    Air Power may have started in the First Command but, Laughlin has certainly perfected the process over the last 50 years, having become the command’s number one pilot producing machine. Over 300 newly-minted pilots leave Del Rio each year and try to follow the footsteps of such revered Laughlin graduates as Medal of Honor recipient Joe Jackson, Vietnam war hero Richard Glenn Rutan, astronaut Sidney Gutierrez, and retired Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. Norton Schwartz.
    “We have a legacy to live up to here at Laughlin,” said U.S. Air Force Col. Craig Prather, 47th Flying Training Wing commander. “To live up to it, we’re integrating proven methods with advanced capabilities, technology and quality instruction to prepare our newest pilots for whatever may get thrown their way in the future.”
    The training environment allows Airmen to outperform, out think, and out innovate competitors when they head to operational units. Through it all, dedicated instructors have demonstrated leadership by example to develop America’s sons and daughters while ensuring that the Air Force’s newest aviators are second to none.
    Both AETC and Laughlin have contributed to the Air Force’s story of air dominance throughout the years. Undoubtedly, both will continue penning chapters for many years to come.



    Date Taken: 11.04.2021
    Date Posted: 11.04.2021 09:10
    Story ID: 408675

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