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Words of wisdom vocalized to Air Force’s newest aviators

Retired Lt. Gen. Jeffrey Lofgren, former Deputy Chief of Staff for Capability Development, speaks to the graduating classes and their families, Sept. 13, 2019, on Columbus Air Force Base, Mississippi. Lofgren expressed how he felt extremely honored and humble to be a part of the ceremony and to speak to the newest pilots of the world’s greatest Air Force. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Jake Jacobsen)

Retired Lt. Gen. Jeffrey Lofgren, former Deputy Chief of Staff for Capability Development, speaks to the graduating classes and their families, Sept. 13, 2019, on Columbus Air Force Base, Mississippi. Lofgren expressed how he felt extremely honored and humble to be a part of the ceremony and to speak to the newest pilots of the world’s greatest Air Force. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Jake Jacobsen)

Col. Samantha Weeks, 14th Flying Training Wing commander, presents 2nd Lt. Julius Peek III his certificate of graduation, Sept. 13, 2019, on Columbus Air Force Base, Mississippi. After graduating pilot training at Columbus AFB, pilots will now go to their specified base to start training on their assigned aircraft. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Jake Jacobsen)

Col. Samantha Weeks, 14th Flying Training Wing commander, presents 2nd Lt. Julius Peek III his certificate of graduation, Sept. 13, 2019, on Columbus Air Force Base, Mississippi. After graduating pilot training at Columbus AFB, pilots will now go to their specified base to start training on their assigned aircraft. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Jake Jacobsen)

Retired Lt. Gen. Jeffrey Lofgren, former Deputy Chief of Staff for Capability Development, salutes 2nd Lt. Logan Adcock, Sept. 13, 2019, on Columbus Air Force Base, Mississippi. Lofgren presented three graduates the Air Education and Training Command Commander’s Trophy for being the most outstanding students overall in their classes. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Jake Jacobsen)

Retired Lt. Gen. Jeffrey Lofgren, former Deputy Chief of Staff for Capability Development, salutes 2nd Lt. Logan Adcock, Sept. 13, 2019, on Columbus Air Force Base, Mississippi. Lofgren presented three graduates the Air Education and Training Command Commander’s Trophy for being the most outstanding students overall in their classes. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Jake Jacobsen)

Graduating class 19-23/24 break their silver wings, Sept. 13, 2019, on Columbus Air Force Base, Mississippi. This process is an honored tradition where new Air Force pilots break their first set of Silver Wings for good luck, and the two halves are not supposed to be reunited until the pilot is deceased. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Jake Jacobsen)

Graduating class 19-23/24 break their silver wings, Sept. 13, 2019, on Columbus Air Force Base, Mississippi. This process is an honored tradition where new Air Force pilots break their first set of Silver Wings for good luck, and the two halves are not supposed to be reunited until the pilot is deceased. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Jake Jacobsen)

COLUMBUS AIR FORCE BASE, Miss. --

A former graduate of Columbus Air Force Base pilot training spoke to the graduates of Specialized Undergraduate Pilot Training Class’s 19-23/24 on Sept. 13, in the Kaye Auditorium.

Retired Lt. Gen. Jeffrey Lofgren, former Deputy Chief of Staff for Capability Development, Headquarters Allied Command Transformation at Norfolk, Virginia, returned to congratulate and support the newest Air Force aviators with words of advice.

Lofgren expressed how honored and humble he felt to be a part of the ceremony and speak to the newest pilots of the world’s greatest Air Force. He was quick to mention how the sight of the graduates took him back to when he graduated pilot training here roughly 34 years ago.

The differences in pilot training now, opposed to the training in Lofgren’s days, have significantly changed. Lofgren highlighted that the newest capabilities we have now were not available to him when he went through pilot training.

“Having this new equipment such as simulators and virtual technology has significantly changed the way the Air Force does pilot training, and it is exciting to see these new aviators at the cutting edge of all the advancements made,” Lofgren said. “As we try to increase pilot production, there is great innovation going on to help further that need, and it is heartening to see how hard everyone is pushing to help accomplish the mission.”

Lofgren encouraged the graduates to strive for excellence. He said the mission is difficult and every single pilot on every platform is critical for success.

“What makes us the greatest Air Force in the world is that we don’t accept second best,” Lofgren said. “Striving for excellence in all we do makes a big difference not only in your personal career, but in the Air Force at large.”

The graduates also witnessed the completion of another chapter in Columbus AFB international training programs with the graduation of three pilots from Japan. Two international pilots will return to fly the F-15J Eagle, while another will fly the UH-60 Black Hawk.

The Japanese national anthem was played at the beginning of the graduation ceremony followed by the U.S. National Anthem, signifying our relationship toward future association in Air Power.

At the conclusion of his speech, Lofgren shared some encouraging words to Columbus Air Force Base stating that the base has an incredibly important mission.

“The Air Force requires the expertise that lies here and requires the entire team to generate pilots for the Air Force,” Lofgren said. “On the heels of 9/11 we should be remembering why we do what we do, and why we are a part of something bigger than ourselves.”

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