Afghan A-29 Pilots Graduate at Moody

The first class of Afghan A-29 Super Tucano pilots graduated from training Dec. 18 at Moody AFB, Ga., while two maintenance trainees remain missing. The eight pilots “will help establish a secure, stable, and unified country,” said Col. John Nichols, commander of the 14th Flying Training Wing, at the graduation ceremony, according to a release. “They are enabling the future of Afghanistan, a future that will be decided by the Afghans themselves.” The pilots began classroom training in February and flew their first A-29 training sorties in March. They will be the first of 30 trained by the 81st Fighter Squadron over the next three years. The Afghan air force’s current light air support aircraft, the Mi-35 attack helicopter, reaches the end of its service life in January. “Today does not mark the end, but the beginning of our continued friendship,” said Lt. Col. Jeffrey Hogan, commander of the 81st Fighter Squadron. “Please know that we are shoulder-to-shoulder with you and we look forward to many years of working together.” The two Afghan maintenance trainees who were slated for graduation but disappeared from the base on Dec. 7 have not been found. The men’s visas have been revoked and the Department of Homeland Security is searching for them, but does not consider them a threat, an Atlanta TV station reported. (See previously: Afghan Pilots Train in Colorado and A-29 Training Squadron Activated at Moody.)