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Twenty-one new aviators added to the Air Force during April 19 graduation ceremony

  • Published
  • 71st Flying Training Wing Public Affairs

VANCE AIR FORCE BASE, Okla. – Twenty-one students in Undergraduate Pilot Training Class 24-08 received their wings during a ceremony held April 19 at Vance Air Force Base.

Having completed their initial aviation training in the T-6A Texan II, the newly pinned pilots will continue in either the T-1A Jayhawk or the T-38C Talon training programs at Vance.

The guest speaker at the Class 24-08 graduation ceremony was Col. Matthew Astroth, the 71st Flying Training Wing deputy commander. He is a graduate from the U.S. Air Force Academy and earned his pilot wings at Laughlin Air Force Base, Texas, in 2002. During his time in Air Force Special Operations Command, he served as a command pilot accumulating over 1,200 combat hours in the AC-130U/W gunships.

He also served as the commander of the 551st Special Operations Squadron at Cannon Air Force Base, New Mexico, and as deputy group commander of the 492nd Special Operations Training Group at Hurlburt Field, Florida.

Class 24-08 award winners were:
2nd Lt. Brid O’Connell received the Academic Award;
2nd Lt. Tex Johnson received the Leadership Award;
2nd Lt. Cameron Madrid received the Flying Training Award, the Air Education & Training Command Commander’s Trophy and was named a Distinguished Graduate 
2nd Lt. Lauren Wood was named a Distinguished Graduate;
2nd Lt. Jake Fleming received the Wingman Award.

Also receiving their pilot wings during the ceremony were:
2nd Lts. Noah Pluska, Jake Branham, Oktay Conger, Evan Crane, Hunter Davis, Ian French, Ramazan Kara, Jane Kim,     Jack Koch, Justin Maglalang, Tanner Mannin, Peter Nyfeler, Harrison Siefke, Lucas Smith, Patrick Waterman and Aaron Zedella.