The Nigerian Air Force (NAF) has winged four newly trained pilots comprising two fighter pilots and two combat helicopter pilots, who recently completed their training in the United States of America (USA).
The winging ceremony took place at a three-day retreat which commenced from 27 to 29 April 2021 with the theme, ‘Harnessing NAF Airpower Capabilities for Effectiveness in Joint Operations’, a statement by the NAF Spokesperson Air Commodore Edward Gabkwet disclosed.
The Chief of the Air Staff, Air Marshal Oladayo Amao in his remarks, noted that the winging of the pilots marks a glowing testament of NAF’s commitment towards, ‘enhancing and sustaining critical airpower capabilities required for joint force employment in pursuit of our national security imperatives’.
He also disclosed that the Service cannot effectively and efficiently employ airpower if there was a lack of sufficient number of well-trained aviators and support personnel, hence the importance the Service attaches to the winging of the young pilots.
He went further to reveal that a total of 233 officers and airmen/airwomen were undergoing training courses overseas, which cut across several specialties and trades.
According to him, “out of this number, about 35 are student pilots undergoing various stages of training at Czech Republic, USA, United Kingdom and South Africa. All these are aimed at maintaining combat readiness at significantly higher levels to counter both domestic and foreign threats to the Nation’s security and wellbeing.”
While congratulating the young pilots on their winging, the CAS urged them to be relentless in pursuit of excellence and professionalism as operational pilots, while working with their colleagues across other specialties in the Service.
He further advised the pilots to remain committed to the successful execution of, ‘our constitutional role of defending the territorial integrity of our dear nation.’
In his remark, the Chief of Training and Operations (CTOP), Air Vice Marshal James Gwani, disclosed that two of the winged pilots had completed the Specialized Undergraduate Pilot Training (SUPT) at United States Air Force training facilities in Mississippi and Texas while the other two went through the Basic Military Helicopter as well as Mission and Tactics Training at United States Army Aviation Flight School, Fort Rucker and Western Army Aviation Training Site, Arizona, United States.
He expressed optimism that the inclusion of the 4 pilots into NAF’s pilots’ corps would no doubt boost the strength of Service especially as the NAF will soon be inducting new platforms into its inventory.
The winging ceremony and the retreat were attended by several serving and retired NAF personnel pooled from across the nation.