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Uzbekistan AF visits Columbus AFB to learn about pilot training program

Lt. Col. Wayne Chitmon speaks with Uzbekistan air force members about the 14th Flying Training Wing’s Introduction to Fighter Fundamentals training program March 5, 2015, at Columbus Air Force Base, Miss. The Uzbek troops came here to get a first-hand experience in how they could structure their own pilot training program. Chitmon is the 49th Fighter Training Squadron assistant director of operations. (U.S. Air Force photo/Airman Daniel Lile)

Lt. Col. Wayne Chitmon speaks with Uzbekistan air force members about the 14th Flying Training Wing’s Introduction to Fighter Fundamentals training program March 5, 2015, at Columbus Air Force Base, Miss. The Uzbek troops came here to get a first-hand experience in how they could structure their own pilot training program. Chitmon is the 49th Fighter Training Squadron assistant director of operations. (U.S. Air Force photo/Airman Daniel Lile)

COLUMBUS AIR FORCE BASE, Miss. (AFNS) -- Six members from the Uzbekistan air force visited Columbus Air Force Base March 3 – 5, to see the 14th Flying Training Wing mission firsthand and to learn how they could structure their own pilot training program.

"Uzbekistan is currently going through a restructuring of their Air Force where they are moving to an all-volunteer force," said Capt. Franklin Baker, a 14th Operations Group International Military Student officer. "They are visiting various countries trying to figure out how they want to model their Air Force. So they worked with our government to arrange this three-day tour at Columbus Air Force Base and see how we train pilots."

Columbus AFB was chosen to be one of the locations for the Uzbek troops to visit not only because of the pilot training program but also because Mississippi is Uzbekistan's National Guard State Partnership Program partner country.

"They came to Columbus Air Force Base specifically because they want to be able to (prepare) their pilots (well)," said Capt. John McDaniel, who serves with the 14th OG commander's action group. "They are also visiting an Army National Guard base to see their helicopters and a Jackson Air National Guard base to see their C-17 Globemaster IIIs."

Their visit included most of the aspects Columbus AFB has that directly contribute to producing pilots, which included the tower and radar approach control and aerospace physiology and the flying squadrons.

"Tours like this are important because they establish good relations with different countries," Baker said. "If they are going to structure their Air Force like (our’s), it's going to foster a continuing relationship to build both countries' air forces."

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