Romania joins ENJJPT program at Sheppard Air Force Base

T-38's Flying at Sheppard Air Force Base
T-38's Flying at Sheppard Air Force Base

WICHITA FALLS, TX (KAUZ) - The ENJJPT program at Sheppard Air Force Base has a new partner nation.

In 2015, a delegation from the Romanian government came to Sheppard looking into the flying program.

The last country to join the ENJJPT program was Spain in 1996.

Fast-forward 21 years later and Romania has signed on board, leaving ENJJPT optimistic about their future.

The program has high standards.

"Many of the top leaders from foreign countries have been graduates from ENJJPT," Trevor Aldridge, an Instructor Pilot, told us in July.

When we talked to Instructor Aldridge eight months ago, he said the alliance helps build relationships for future operations.

That is why U.S. Air Force Colonel, Gregory Keeton, is so excited about the new addition of Romania.

"The ability for us to take these different backgrounds and experiences makes us able to train to a higher standard," Colonel Keeton said. "Because we have all those different perspectives from the different countries."

When the country visited two years ago, Colonel Keeton believes they were impressed with more than just the flying program.

"They were able to see how much we welcome the partner students and instructor pilots," Colonel Keeton said. "And how we try and make them part of our culture here in north Texas."

Colonel Keeton said it might have a small impact on the U.S. pilots produced, but the pro's outweigh the con's.

"I think it will be good overall for the partnership, the program, and for the United States Air Force overall in the long run," Colonel Keeton said. "We will basically be representatives for almost the entire United States by them being here. It's a great opportunity for them to get the training they need. But also a great opportunity for us to learn a little bit about Romania while they are here in the region."

Colonel Keeton said the more partners ENJJPT has, the more it improves the efficiency of the program.

Romania is now officially part of ENJJPT.

All the signatures were signed by March 21st.

Colonel Keeton said they are excited to be on board.

He added that there will not be a lot of Romanian pilots because they do not have a large Air Force.

Instructor pilots will come first to train, most likely next fall.

Students will then follow within the year.

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