July 10, 2014 at 1:57 AM CDT - Updated July 27 at 7:15 AM
The Romanian Air Force is considering the Euro NATO Joint Jet Pilot Training program to train its pilots.
This week a delegation of four Airmen from Romania toured Sheppard Air Force Base ENJJPT program and the city of Wichita Falls.
“They're purchasing F-16s and they’re going to show up in Romania in a couple of years. There is a desire to robust the pipeline pilot training program for the Romanian Air Force,” said Colonel Glen Lawson, a former resident of Texoma.
Colonel Lawson knows the area and the ENJJPT program well.
He has family here, received military training and taught at SAFB as a T-37 instructor.
The Office of Defense Cooperation at the U.S. Embassy in Bucharest, Romania, sent Colonel Lawson back to Texoma to help top officials at SAFB show a delegation of four members of the Romanian Air Force what the city of Wichita Falls and the ENJJPT program at SAFB has to offer.
"When they get the F-16s they’re a part of that combined alliance, when anything is needed,” said Colonel Lawson. “Action in the air, this will robust that and enable them to react with the rest of the NATO partners."
Colonel Lance Bunch, Commander with the 80th Flying Training Wing at SAFB said if the country of Romania decides to join; it will become the 14th member of ENJJPT.
He believes it will not only be a benefit for the ENJJPT program, but the local community as well.
"Those families live downtown, those kids go to our schools,” said Colonel Bunch. “So they provide an international flavor."
Colonel Bunch said the Texas hospitality the city and base showed will leave a very good impression on their visitors and thinks it will be enough to sway the Romanian government into sending its pilots to train here in Texoma.
“That great partnership we have between our base, the community and we highlight to the Romanians so they can see how that partnership trains great fighter pilots for the NATO alliance,” said Commander Bunch.
If the Romanians decide to send their airmen to train at SAFB, Colonel Bunch said they must sign on to the U.S. Treaty and sign a Memorandum of Understanding in order to become a member of ENNJPT. Jimmie Johnson, Newschannel 6