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T-1 paint scheme revealed, 43rd heritage brought to life

  • Published
  • By Airmen 1st Class Jake Jacobsen
  • 14th Flying Training Wing Public Affairs

The 14th Flying Training Wing unveiled the last of its six heritage flagship aircraft during a ceremony at the Walker Center Oct. 25 on Columbus Air Force Base.

The 43rd Flying Training Squadron’s T-1A Jayhawk, painted in the color scheme used on the squadron’s aircraft during World War II, was presented to those in attendance as a finale to the heritage painting project.

These paintings were also part of the Air Force chief of staff’s initiative to revitalize squadrons and enable them to connect to the long blue line.

Speakers during the ceremony included Lt. Col. Tom McElhinney, 43rd FTS commander, and Rufus Ward, 43rd FTS honorary commander.

Ward’s opening remarks gave spectators a summarized history of the 43rd FTS as well as tying it to his own personal life with his father, a former member of the 96th Bombardment Group. He started at the 43rd FTS’s origin in Dec. 22, 1939, as the 29th Bombardment Squadron to the present as the 43rd FTS.

After Ward finished he passed the spotlight to the current commander to speak about his squadron and the new aircraft.

McElhinney said he was excited to accept the aircraft into the fleet at Columbus as he remarked on the duties the 43rd FTS has as an Air Force Reserve Squadron.

“As reservists we honor and adhere to the citizen Airmen motto, respecting the challenges of balancing reserve duty with civilian employment and family life,” McElhinney said. “This heritage aircraft is a testament to that partnership.”

McElhinney also explained that many aspects of the squadron’s history were used in the development of the paint scheme, and since there were already two T-38 Talon and T-6 Texan II paint schemes at Columbus they decided to use the design for a second T-1 aircraft.

Noticeable patches and heritage marks were placed on the T-1 such as the 43rd Bombardment Squadron patch, used during WWII, on the side of the aircraft.

Each of the bomb wings in the 29th BG used different letters to identify which group an aircraft belonged to and their origins. The 43rd used the square O, which has been placed on the tail of the flagship aircraft, back when the squadron was with the 29th BG.

The 43 on the side of the aircraft represents the aircraft number which prominently displays the aircraft from the 29th BG during WWII. These numbers were used to help identify aircraft both in the air and on the ground.

The 43rd FTS’s strong heritage is backed by having earned three campaign streamers, three Distinguished Unit Citations and numerous other awards.

Today the 43rd FTS mission continues in building the world’s best warriors, leaders and professional pilots.

The 43rd FTS administers and executes the Air Education and Training Command/Air Force Reserve Command Associate Instructor Pilot Program and provides Active Guard Reserve and Traditional Reserve IPs to augment the cadre of active-duty pilots conducting pilot training.

During wartime, or in the event of hostilities, the unit is mobilized to offset anticipated losses of experienced active-duty pilot contributions to the instructor pilot training programs.

(Editor’s note: Rufus Ward of the Commercial Dispatch contributed to this story)

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