by Sonic Johnson
14th Flying Training Wing Public Affairs
1/15/2015 - MOODY AIR FORCE BASE, Ga. -- The
U.S. Air Force reactivated a historic unit here Jan. 15, as Col. John
Nichols, 14th Flying Training Wing commander, published the reactivation
order for the 81st Fighter Squadron.
Immediately following the squadron activation, Nichols passed the
squadron guidon to Lt. Col. Jeffrey Hogan, who officially assumed
command and became the newest commander of the 81st FS.
The mission of the newly activated squadron is to graduate on-time,
combat-ready attack pilots and maintenance professionals for the Afghan
air force. The squadron will grow to 20 A-29 Super Tucano aircraft that
will be used to train 30 Afghan pilots and 90 maintainers at Moody
Following the training, all 20 aircraft will be provided to the Afghan
Air Force and will provide air-to-ground and aerial reconnaissance
capabilities to support Afghanistan's counterinsurgency operations and
airborne self-defense for their government and citizens.
Underscoring the significance of the new 81st FS mission, audience
member included the Honorable Eric Fanning, Under Secretary of the Air
Force, and Maj. Gen. Michael Keltz, Air Education and Training Command's
19th Air Force commander.
The Jan. 15 activation date has historical significance, as the unit was
first activated at Key Field, Meridian, Miss., on Jan. 15, 1942, and
again on Jan. 15, 1973, at Spangdahlem, Air Base, Germany.
"The mission is about the future of air power in Afghanistan," said
Nichols during the activation ceremony. "More than 12 years of blood,
sweat and tears were spent getting us to this day."
The need for the A-29 comes as the current Afghan Air Force LAS
aircraft, the Mi-35 attack helicopter, reaches the end of its service
life in January 2016. The A-29 is a light air support training aircraft
that will be used to train 30 Afghan pilots and 90 Afghan maintainers as
part of a requirement from the International Security Assistance Force
to conduct training outside of Afghanistan.
The United States frequently hosts aircraft training to international
students from different countries such as Norway, Poland, Singapore, the
Netherlands, and Iraq on the F-16. The U.S. also provides Afghan
students flying training in other established programs at bases in
Texas, Mississippi, Arkansas and Oklahoma. Eight of the 10 Afghan
students in the first training class at Moody have previously earned
their wings through U.S. Air Force pilot training.
The 81st FS is a tenant unit at Moody AFB, Ga., and falls under command
of the 14th Operations Group and 14th Flying Training Wing at Columbus