Up to now, the Airspace over Iraq has remained the sole domain of Coalition and U.S. Forces. This too is changing, with the recent graduation of Iraqi Air Force Officers trained by Coalition Forces.
The Iraqi Air Force Academy recently celebrated the first of what is hoped to be many classes of graduates. Twenty-eight new Iraq Air Force officers were trained, in what is the second graduation class so far of Iraqi Air Force Pilots. The Iraqi 2nd lieutenants will continue into various leadership positions, with nine of the new graduates slated directly for pilot training. The others will continue into diverse fields such as operations, maintenance and Sensor Training.
“We hope to create a new source of trained, capable Iraqi Air Force Officers,” said Major Stuart Lloyd, U.S. Air Force. Lloyd is the Chief Instructor and Commander of the Iraqi Air Force Training Academy. “This picks up in a way where things were in 2003 before the fall of Saddam” said Lloyd.
The Officer training encompasses six months, and is to be continued eventually out to a nine-month duration. Courses to be studies include leadership, following orders, drill, weapons courses, English Language instruction, and other courses.
The instructor staff is made up of U.S. Air Force Officers, but as students are trained the goal it to transition into a staff comprised entirely of Iraqi Instructors. The Training center is also working to establish and train Iraqi Air Force Warrant Officers.
In Iraqi, the Warrant Officer candidates will be trained to occupy a position somewhere between Iraqi Officers and enlisted personnel.