WICHITA FALLS, TX (KAUZ) - The German Air Force celebrates 50 years at Sheppard Air Force Base with a Roll Call Ceremony for the German Air Force detachment at the 80th Flying Training Wing. A historic military event recognizing the partnership between the German and the U.S. Air Force.
German Air Force Chief of Staff Lt. Gen., Karl Muellner says being back at Sheppard for the 50th anniversary of Sheppard training German Air Force pilots has been a very personal experience. He was a student himself from 1981 to 1992 and went through the program.
"For me it's emotional coming back here and it's a good occasion - 50 years of pilot training - that's amazing."
ENJJPT is the world's only internationally manned and managed undergraduate pilot training program. Pilots come from 13 partner nations. The German Air Force was the first nation to send students to Sheppard in 1966. Since then 2500 German students have graduated. Air Force officials say the partnership between the United States and German Air Forces is important.
"The joint nature of the program allows us to have that like minded vision, understand each other culturally as well as what our goals are. We develop this end product - these pilots who are going to be able to go out and win together."
Air Force officials say Sheppard is the perfect place for the German Air Force to train.
"We have an ideal environment here. We have a large airport - we have a good training environment as far as a continuation of our training is concerned. In a very short time we can insure our pilots earn their wings."
Air force officials say the international relationships that develop from the program being at Sheppard Air Force Base are immeasurable.
"It's a great honor to be able to be here and to be able to experience this great partnership at this 50th anniversary. It's been a lot of training throughout the years. We learn from each other and it's a great opportunity to continue to learn from each other as we continue on through."