HomeNewsArticle Display

First Vietnamese student graduates from US Aviation Leadership Program

First Vietnamese student graduates from U.S. Aviation Leadership Program

Col. Samantha Weeks, 14th Flying Training Wing commander, pins on Capt. Toai Dang’s, wings during a graduation ceremony May 30, 2019, at Columbus Air Force Base, Miss. Dang became the first Vietnamese student from Vietnam Air Defense-Air Force, to graduate the Aviation Leadership Program. ALP is a U.S. Air Force-funded program, providing students of friendly and developing countries with undergraduate pilot training scholarships. (U.S. Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. Christopher Gross)

First Vietnamese student graduates from U.S. Aviation Leadership Program

Capt. Toai Dang, from Vietnam Air Defense-Air Force, is congratulated by fellow Vietnamese student, Lt. Doan Van Canh, during a graduation ceremony May 30, 2019, at Columbus Air Force Base, Miss. Dang became the first Vietnamese student to graduate the Aviation Leadership Program. (U.S. Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. Christopher Gross)

First Vietnamese student graduates from U.S. Aviation Leadership Program

Capt. Toai Dang, from Vietnam Air Defense-Air Force, puts on his helmet while settling into a T-6 Texan II, preparing for his final check ride May 29, 2019, at Columbus Air Force Base, Miss. Dang became the first Vietnamese student to graduate the Aviation Leadership Program. He will fly the EADS CASA 295 upon his return to Vietnam. (U.S. Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. Christopher Gross)

First Vietnamese student graduates from U.S. Aviation Leadership Program

Capt. Toai Dang, from Vietnam Air Defense-Air Force, checks out a T-6 Texan II before his final check ride May 29, 2019, at Columbus Air Force Base, Miss. Dang became the first Vietnamese student to graduate the Aviation Leadership Program. Dang flew more than 167 hours in the T-6 during his time in the program. (U.S. Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. Christopher Gross)

COLUMBUS AIR FORCE BASE, Miss. (AFNS) --

Capt. Toai Dang, of the Vietnam Air Defense-Air Force, became the first Vietnamese student to graduate from the Aviation Leadership Program on May 31 at Columbus Air Force Base.

ALP is a U.S. Air Force-funded program, providing students of partner and developing countries with undergraduate pilot training scholarships.

During the graduation ceremony, which also recognized students from Specialized Undergraduate Pilot Training Class 19-10/16, Special Assistant to the Director of Training and Readiness and Deputy Chief of Staff for Operations Brig. Gen. Edward Vaughan, at the Pentagon, was the guest speaker and talked about the significance of Dang’s participation and completion of ALP.

“I want you to fly, I want you to fight and I want you to win,” Vaughn said. “It is a great honor and privilege to be able to speak to you and welcome you among us now as one of our partners.”

In addition, Lt. Gen. Steve Kwast, commander of Air Education and Training Command, commented on Dang’s graduation marking a significant step forward for the two countries’ air forces.

“Vietnam’s participation in the Aviation Leadership Program is a tremendous milestone for the U.S. Air Force and Vietnam Air Defense-Air Force collaborative relationship,” Kwast said. “This type of training and cooperation enables Vietnam’s air force to increase its abilities in air and maritime operations. This partnership helps ensure peace and stability in the region and in the world.”

“It’s a good chance for me to come here (and) study something new,” Dang said about the opportunity.

Dang’s involvement in the program also helps strengthen the security ties between the U.S. and Vietnam and exemplifies the commitment of the two countries to deepen their defense relationship and bilateral cooperation, an objective of the 2011 Memorandum of Understanding on Advancing Bilateral Defense Cooperation and the 2015 Joint Vision Statement on Defense Relations. Dang’s participation in ALP demonstrates the commitment between the U.S. and Vietnam toward reaching mutual goals in the Indo-Pacific region.

“Capt. Dang’s graduation from ALP and the skills and knowledge he’s gained through the training represents our continued cooperation with partner countries and our strong support for the region,” said Brig. Gen. Michael Winkler, Pacific Air Forces Strategy, Plans and Programs director. “We look forward to greater military-to-military cooperation that continues to allow the U.S. and Vietnam to more effectively work together to ensure peace and stability in the Indo-Pacific region.”

Dang said he is looking forward to returning to Vietnam to help his fellow pilots with lessons learned after 12 months in training at Columbus AFB. Upon his return, Dang will go on to fly the EADS CASA 295, a twin turboprop tactical airlifter.

Before arriving at their pilot training base, ALP students attend the Defense Language Institute English Language Center at Joint-Base San Antonio Lackland, Texas, for special purpose English training. Dang started at DLIELC in 2016. Once he graduated from DLIELC, Dang then arrived at Columbus AFB and started ALP in May 2018. He has since flown the T-6 Texan II for more than 167 hours. Unlike Specialized Undergraduate Pilot Training, where students will go on to fly the T-1A Jayhawk or T-38 Talon following their time in the T-6, ALP students put in more hours in the T-6 and receive their wings once they complete the course.

Maj. Dave Cote, 41st Flying Training Squadron instructor pilot, and Capt. Christy Martin, from the 14th Student Squadron, are both international military student officers and they provide administrative support to the 55 international student officers from 23 nations while they are in pilot training at Columbus AFB.

“ALP is heavily geared toward flying and ground training,” Cote said, “but another major aspect of the ALP is to promote cultural and informational exchanges to develop mutual cooperation and understanding between the U.S. Air Force and participating nations’ air forces.

Cote said he feels ALP is essential to “building partner capacity.”

“Building partnerships and relationships takes years, if not decades,” Cote said. “The relationships our U.S. and international student pilots build now will no doubt remain long after their days at Columbus (AFB).”

Cote said 20 years from now, student pilots and graduates from Columbus AFB will be colonels and generals in their respective air forces, and these relationships could play a major role down the road.

“The connections and relationships created today in the flight rooms and rigors of pilot training will hopefully remain throughout careers,” Cote said.

Engage

Facebook Twitter
RT @AFWERX: The @usairforce just officially announced the #SparkTank2020 selectees! Congratulations to all the teams who will be presenting…
RT @USAmbNATO: I am very proud of our 🇺🇸 @usairforce airmen from the 57th Rescue Squadron who have been in 🇮🇹 #Italy training personnel rec…
RT @DVIDSHub: The #A10 Thunderbolt II is a slow yet maneuverable aircraft capable of taking and throwing hits that would render other aircr…
RT @AETCommand: There are few missions requiring years to plan/prep, only to be accomplished in less than 6 seconds. Courtesy @AirmanMagaz
Combat rescue helicopter pilots and crew undergo intensive underwater-egress training to prepare for worst-case sce… https://t.co/Z9z1kHAmay
RT @US_TRANSCOM: Look at this amazing photo of @usairforce and @RCAF_ARC C-130 Hercules aircraft taking off from #LittleRockAirForceBase. @…
Check out what's happening around the #AirForce this week! https://t.co/MCM1NiVAEN
Ice, Ice Baby ❄️❄️🌬️ Fire protection specialists at Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson, Alaska practice self-recover… https://t.co/tSSMzACZyz
Great job @CivilAirPatrol. 9 lives saved this year! https://t.co/43ICzmOMaX
RT @GenDaveGoldfein: Privileged to spend time at our annual Weapons & Tactics Conference @NellisAFB where leaders of our combat power meet…
RT @AETCommand: Thanks @EsperDoD for visiting our 479th Flying Training Group team at @NASPCOLA! #DYK the group is the @usairforce's only…
RT @theF35JPO: Because we all love a bit of F-35 #slowmo. Watch an #F35 release flares in #slowmotion at @EdwardsAFB. ⚡ https://t.co/AIRCGL…
RT @US_SOCEUR: U.S. #airmen assigned to the 352d Special Operations Wing fly a CV-22B #Osprey aircraft over #Hungary. https://t.co/sSmjq90S…
RT @HQ_AFMC: It's another #NightAtTheMuseum event at the @AFmuseum this Friday when a special evening to celebrate the final days of the Ca…
RT @HQUSAFEPA: The U.S. & #Romania have a standing partnership to address issues of regional & global security. To advance those interests,…
Our Airmen train to perform even when conditions get harsh. @435AEW defenders used self-aid & buddy care, vehicle… https://t.co/ZXVzSUBzsK
Ohio @AirNatlGuard, @178thWing and @179AW sent Disaster Relief Beddown Sets to Puerto Rico to aid earthquake relief… https://t.co/qTGlDasRdY
RT @AFResearchLab: Our 711th Human Performance Wing is studying Airmen's sleeping habits to improve performance and readiness to further th…
.@NellisAFB Airmen help prep an @AusAirForce C-17 Globemaster III to receive fire suppressant needed to aid in the… https://t.co/fRiXN5lNh0