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14 FTW CC congratulates SUPT Class 20-20/21 graduates during speech

Col. Seth Graham, 14th Flying Training Wing commander, speaks to Specialized Undergraduate Pilot Training Class 20-20/21 at their graduation ceremony on August 7, 2020, at Columbus Air Force Base, Miss.  Thirty-four officers were awarded their silver wings at the ceremony and gained the title of “Air Force Pilot”. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Jake Jacobsen)

Col. Seth Graham, 14th Flying Training Wing commander, speaks to Specialized Undergraduate Pilot Training Class 20-20/21 at their graduation ceremony on August 7, 2020, at Columbus Air Force Base, Miss. Thirty-four officers were awarded their silver wings at the ceremony and gained the title of “Air Force Pilot”. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Jake Jacobsen)

Specialized Undergraduate Pilot Training graduates bow their heads in prayer at a graduation ceremony on August 7, 2020, at Columbus Air Force Base, Miss. Students in the graduating classes maintained their six feet distance in light of the COVID-19 pandemic.  (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Jake Jacobsen)

Specialized Undergraduate Pilot Training graduates bow their heads in prayer at a graduation ceremony on August 7, 2020, at Columbus Air Force Base, Miss. Students in the graduating classes maintained their six feet distance in light of the COVID-19 pandemic. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Jake Jacobsen)

COLUMBUS AIR FORCE BASE, Miss. --

Col. Seth Graham, the 14th Flying Training Wing commander, congratulated Specialized Undergraduate Pilot Training Class 20-20/21 at their graduation ceremony August 7, 2020, on Columbus Air Force Base, Mississippi.

Graham began the speech by thanking the families and friends watching virtually. He then expressed his gratitude for the graduates’ relentlessness because of how they continued to train in the midst of a global pandemic.

“The graduates in this room are in fact unique,” Graham said. “You have continued to stand up and meet our nation’s call. Although our world has changed greatly over the past several of months, you have come to discover just how important you are.”

Thirty-four officers were awarded their silver wings at the ceremony and gained the title of “Air Force Pilot.”

Graham said it was essential for the graduates’ training to continue because of how important they are to the United States’ national defense.

“In a few short months, you will be defending our borders, projecting power, engaging in combat or transporting vital personnel and equipment to the next fight,” Graham said.

Graham, a command pilot with more than 2,600 flying hours, says he remembers his pilot training days. One of the biggest takeaways from his experience was the relationships he had.

Multiple classmates from pilot training accompanied him, as well as one of his instructor pilots. After his training, Graham said he was sent overseas to fly the B-1B Lancer after the 9/11 attacks. 

“A year later [after being sent overseas], I found myself in a B-1 over the skies of Iraq,” Graham said. “The coolest part of that mission was that next to me, the other pilot, was my assigned instructor pilot, a T-37 Tweet first assignment instructor pilot. He had helped shaped me into the combat aviator that I was.”

Graham said although the pilots will go their separate ways after graduation, the Air Force community is small and he believes their bonds will bring them back together again.

Graham gave one last motivating remark and thanked the graduates again for their commitment.

“You’ve dawned the uniform of our nation and stepped up to a greater calling,” he said. “I’m excited for the amazing things you will do, as you will literally will be creating history. Congratulations to Class 20-20/21 on earning your wings, thank you.”

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