USAFE commander visits facility that lays foundation for NATO fighter pilots
By 2nd Lt. Rachel Smith, 82nd Training Wing Public Affairs
/ Published October 13, 2006
SHEPPARD AIR FORCE BASE, Texas (AETCNS) -- The chance to get a hands-on experience in the Euro-NATO Joint Jet Pilot Training program and meet its international students and instructors brought the U.S. Air Forces in Europe commander to Sheppard this week.
Gen. Robert H. "Doc" Foglesong, who became commander of USAFE in August 2003, was immersed into the ENJJPT program Sept. 14 beginning with an orientation flight in an AT-38 with members of the 88th Flying Training Squadron. The general also took some time meeting with American and international student pilots as well as senior national representatives to better understand how the training program runs.
"I wanted to get a feel of how the (ENJJPT) program is set up. It's important and incredibly useful for me to get that hands-on experience," General Foglesong said. "They (the instructors) are an amazingly professional group. A lot of NATO member nations send their pilots to train here and that foundation is very important."
The general said he's not the only one impressed with the quality of pilots that come out of ENJJPT. The training program is also well thought of by other NATO nations and viewed as the premiere fighter training facility for NATO forces.
"I fly with a lot of them (ENJJPT graduates)," he said. "They are very focused. Their sense of discipline and their commitment to tactical operations is extraordinary."
And with its more-than-adequate facilities that have the potential to grow even further and the best flying weather available in the states, General Foglesong said Sheppard is an excellent place for the ENJJPT program to be based.
"The airspace is great, and runways and infrastructure are very good," he said. "This is a very valuable area to train in."
General Foglesong said he also considers the Airmen trained at Sheppard to be an asset to USAFE and the Air Force overall. Although his schedule didn't allow him to visit the training facilities, the general said he believes Sheppard provides state-of-the-art maintenance training.
"One of the main strengths of the Air Force is our people and the training they receive," he said. "Our Airmen are motivated and disciplined. We are the most respected and feared Air Force in the world."
With more than 33 years of military experience, General Foglesong said the best advice he could give to Sheppard Airmen and ENJJPT pilots is to have personal and professional discipline.
"There's no substitute for hard work," he said, "The more you prepare, the harder you work, the more success you will have."
And to the officers looking ahead to their futures, the general said they must learn to adapt their leadership style to the ever-changing environment without sacrificing their principles.
"Start early, acquire the basic skills of your profession and build on that foundation," he said, "the leadership skills you develop upon that foundation will keep us as the world's most feared Air Force."
General Foglesong also said the work should also be fun and Airmen should enjoy themselves and their work.
"You have to be passionate about your profession," he said. "If you're committed, you'll be good at it."