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    Thunder Lab graduates celebrate; advanced training next

    Thunder Lab graduates celebrate; advanced training next

    Photo By Capt. Robert Leese | Afghan Air Force Thunder Lab lieutenants celebrate as they graduate and move on to...... read more read more



    Story by Capt. Robert Leese 

    438th Air Expeditionary Wing Public Affairs

    KABUL, Afghanistan -- On Nov 7, the Afghan Air Force’s Thunder Lab celebrated the graduation of 14 pilot candidates who will now proceed to more advanced training in the U.S.

    10 officers are going directly to the U.S. for language training at Defense Language Institute in San Antonio, Texas, and then to pilot training at either Columbus Air Force Base, Miss. for fixed wing aircraft or Fort Rucker, Ala., for helicopters.

    Lt. Col. John Howard, the Officer-In-Charge of the Thunder Lab, stated that the AAF lieutenants have done a fantastic job while assigned to the Thunder Lab. They have gone to various places in Afghanistan to hand out school supplies to needy children, kept themselves in top physical shape, improved their English proficiency and focused on learning professionalism and officership.

    “We are really proud of these Lieutenants as they are the second group [of Thunder Lab Lieutenants] to be sent to the United States for training,” explained Maj. Gen. Mohammad Dawran, the AAF commander. “From the first groups [prior to Thunder Lab] sent to the United States, we did not have good results, so we thought about that and we made Thunder Lab to bring the LTs here to learn…they are the future of the Afghan Air Force.”

    The Afghan leutenants had nothing but good words for their U.S. and U.K. advisors, and are excited to start the next phase of their training and start flying for their country.

    AfghanLt. Jarwad Ehrar, a recent graduate, explained, “I will be going to the U.S. and it is my great ambition to fly in fixed wing. Since I was a child, I wanted to fly airplanes.”

    While they are celebrating today, they know that they still have long months of training to go until they return to fulfill their goals of becoming Afghan pilots.

    Afghan Lt. H. Amani, a recent graduate, stated, “After this, there is lots of hard work to do, study, pilot training…I have to go to a different country with different cultures and different people. I am excited. I want to go to rotary wing to become a helicopter pilot…Afghanistan is a mountain country and you can land everywhere.”

    Lt. Col. Michael Brown of the British Army, ISAF Joint Command Chief of Staff of the Combined Joint Movement Control Center, found time to teach Afghans when he reconnected with his old friend from a former assignment, John Howard.

    “I bumped into John and he said they were quite keen to have a U.K. presence over at the Thunder Lab. So I came over and helped out with a few lessons,” said Brown. “These guys are the future of Afghanistan’s Air Force and it is very important to give them the impression that they are moving on to become representatives of their country.”

    When talking about the challenges of the training, Dawran explained, “They should keep the pride of the people of Afghanistan and show them that they can do things well…you are disciplined and have a good culture…keep Afghanistan in your mind.”



    Date Taken: 11.07.2010
    Date Posted: 11.08.2010 09:21
    Story ID: 59658
    Location: KABUL, AF 

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