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

The 43rd Flying Training Squadron’s T-1 Jayhawk heritage flagship aircraft sits on the flight line Oct. 25, 2019, on Columbus Air Force Base, Miss. In 1972, the 43rd was reactivated as a flying training squadron at Craig AFB in Ala., where it conducted undergraduate pilot training until the base closed in 1977. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Jake Jacobsen)

The 43rd Flying Training Squadron’s T-1 Jayhawk heritage flagship aircraft sits on the flight line Oct. 25, 2019, on Columbus Air Force Base, Miss. In 1972, the 43rd was reactivated as a flying training squadron at Craig AFB in Ala., where it conducted undergraduate pilot training until the base closed in 1977. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Jake Jacobsen)

Lt. Col. Tom McElhinney, 43rd Flying Training Squadron commander, and Rufus Ward, 43rd FTS honorary commander, attend and speak at the T-1 Jayhawk paint unveiling ceremony Oct. 25, 2019, on Columbus Air Force Base, Miss. The 43rd FTS origins date back to almost 80 years ago on Dec. 22, 1939, as the 29th Bombardment Squadron which was then redesignated the 43rd Bombardment Squadron on March 13, 1940, at Langely Field, Va. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Jake Jacobsen)

Lt. Col. Tom McElhinney, 43rd Flying Training Squadron commander, and Rufus Ward, 43rd FTS honorary commander, attend and speak at the T-1 Jayhawk paint unveiling ceremony Oct. 25, 2019, on Columbus Air Force Base, Miss. The 43rd FTS origins date back to almost 80 years ago on Dec. 22, 1939, as the 29th Bombardment Squadron which was then redesignated the 43rd Bombardment Squadron on March 13, 1940, at Langely Field, Va. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Jake Jacobsen)

The 43rd Flying Trianing Squadron’s T-1 Jayhawk heritage flagship aircraft sits on the flight line Oct. 25, 2019, on Columbus Air Force Base, Miss. The 43rd FTS was activated at Columbus as a flying training flight in 1997, and then reactivated as a squadron on June 5, 1998, to provide associate reserve pilots to support the mission of the 14th Flying Training Wing. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Jake Jacobsen)

The 43rd Flying Trianing Squadron’s T-1 Jayhawk heritage flagship aircraft sits on the flight line Oct. 25, 2019, on Columbus Air Force Base, Miss. The 43rd FTS was activated at Columbus as a flying training flight in 1997, and then reactivated as a squadron on June 5, 1998, to provide associate reserve pilots to support the mission of the 14th Flying Training Wing. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Jake Jacobsen)

The back half of the 43rd Flying Training Squadron’s T-1 Jayhawk heritage flagship aircraft sits on the flight line, Oct. 25, 2019, on Columbus Air Force Base, Miss. In 1942 the 43rd FTS provided air crew training for B-17 crews that were organized into several new bomb groups including the 96th Bomb Group. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Keith Holcomb)

The back half of the 43rd Flying Training Squadron’s T-1 Jayhawk heritage flagship aircraft sits on the flight line, Oct. 25, 2019, on Columbus Air Force Base, Miss. In 1942 the 43rd FTS provided air crew training for B-17 crews that were organized into several new bomb groups including the 96th Bomb Group. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Keith Holcomb)

Members of the 43rd Flying Training Squadron and members of Team Blaze talk with each other Oct. 25, 2019, on Columbus Air Force Base, Miss. From December 1941 to June 1942 the 43rd Bombardment Squadron flew anti-submarine patrols along the Atlantic Coast, Gulf Coast and in the Caribbean. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Jake Jacobsen)

Members of the 43rd Flying Training Squadron and members of Team Blaze talk with each other Oct. 25, 2019, on Columbus Air Force Base, Miss. From December 1941 to June 1942 the 43rd Bombardment Squadron flew anti-submarine patrols along the Atlantic Coast, Gulf Coast and in the Caribbean. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Jake Jacobsen)

COLUMBUS AIR FORCE BASE, Miss. --

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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