Iraqi air chief sees son graduate U.S. Air Force pilot training

  • Published
  • By 2nd Lt. Angela Martin
  • 47th Flying Training Wing Public Affairs
The top generals from the U.S. Air Force and Iraq Air Force united here March 9 to award silver wings to 23 of the countries' newest pilots.

Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. Norton Schwartz and Iraqi Air Force Commander Staff Lt. Gen. Anwer Hamad Amin Ahmad were the keynote speakers at the graduation ceremony for Specialized Undergraduate Pilot Training Class 12-06, which included one Iraqi officer -Anwer's son Capt. Mohammed Hama Ameen.

"I am proud of him today because he is new," said Anwer, who presented Hama his wings. "He is of the new Iraqi group from a new generation who will do his best to play a great role to build his country."

As part of this new generation, Hama will transition to Iraq as Laughlin's first SUPT graduate for the Iraqi Air Force F-16 program.

His father currently serves as commander of the Iraqi Air Force and is responsible for organizing, training and equipping Iraq's air force. As a decorated pilot, Anwer has 4,500 flying hours in a variety of aircraft.

During his keynote speech, Anwer expressed great appreciation for everyone at Laughlin, and to the U.S. military for its assistance in building a new, democratic Iraq. Schwartz reciprocated Anwer's appreciation of American servicemembers in his keynote speech.

"You have every reason to be proud of the accomplishments of your noble country and certainly your son, who will receive his well-deserved wings from you in just a few moments," said Schwartz. "We are honored to consider you both fellow airmen."

Schwartz, who graduated from SUPT here in 1974, was making his second return to Laughlin since receiving his wings. Schwartz offered words of encouragement to the new pilots preparing to embark on their next journey.

"No one knows what tomorrow will bring, but this is most assuredly an exciting time to enter the ranks of Air Force pilots," Schwartz said. "You must be ready to serve a nation that depends on its Air Force, and Air Force capabilities and skills that you have developed here."

Schwartz concluded by reflecting on the unique nature of military service.

"Commitment to military service is distinct from all other forms of commitment in other professions for it is unqualified and it is unlimited," Schwartz said. "This level of commitment is not to be taken lightly but rather deliberately, and with clear mind and heart."