Instructing to Build Anew

Lt. Col. Hussein Hamid earlier this month became the renascent Iraqi air force’s first qualified T-6 instructor pilot. He joined the select group of more than 30 Iraqi fixed-wing instructor pilots trained by US air advisors since the fall of Saddam Hussein’s regime. Hamid conducted his first instructional flight on March 19 from Tikrit Air Base. He intends to train 30 IqAF pilots to be instructors, so that the Iraqis attain a critical mass before their US air advisors depart in December. “I think the biggest hurdle we face for the T-6 is getting the necessary support to keep our operation airborne. Items, such as maintenance, will be a very critical part of our success,” said Hamid, who has been commander of Tikrit’s Squadron 203 since 2009. Graduating from flight school in 1986, Hamid flew Mirage fighters for 12 years, before leaving service. He rejoined in 2004. (Tikrit report by TSgt. Randy Redman)