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Some Hope and Change for ya!

My friends -- ya say ya want somethin' ta give ya some *Hope*? Ya say yer ready to see some *Change*? Well, my friends, today is yer lucky day, 'cuz Ah got *both* Hope and Change for alla y'all!

First, some Hope -- remember last year's post on Class 67 of the Iraqi Air Force's Flight School Graduation?

Three cadets. The first new pilots in the New Iraqi Air Force.

Yesterday, Class 68 graduated. There were twelve, originally...

But only eight graduated.

Nahh -- nobody washed out and nobody got killed. The other four became part of Class 09-01, the first IqAF Rotary Wing course.

Here's everybody, along with one of my contractor-parasite 'Structor Pilot compatriots.

And here's the Corps of Cadet of the Iraqi Flight Training School. Classes 68 through 71.

A bit of deja-vu -- a Class 67 grad was the Caravan (the airplane in the right rear) copilot. He's assigned here, and stops into my office about twice a week to yak about airspace and "The New Guys." Class 72 is due in shortly. They've been airing recruiting ads on Iraqi TV...


Ready for some more Hope and Change?

That row of chairs was uniforms-only at Class 67's graduation. The civilians -- ladies included -- are members of the Kirkuk City Council and the Provincial Regional Council.

This has changed, too. Last year, the flags were placed about four feet apart.

And for the "We'll never be able to contain the sectarian violence" crowd, welllllllll...

In no particular order, there's a Sunni from Diyala, a Shi'a from Basra, a Chaldean Kurd, and a Roamin' Catholic Crusader myrmidon in the pic.

The three guys in blue became buds in OCS and volunteered for Flight School together. I didn't stage that shot -- they dragged *me* off for the photo op, and it wasn't until afterwards that I remembered why I started calling them "the Three Musketeers" a year ago.

That there's *my* definition of HopeandChange, kids.

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Dude!  This is goin' out for shillin'!
Only a shillin'? G'arn, 'old out for th' full quid...
Good men.  All of them.  Bill too.
We should all be so lucky as to look back at a year's work and say "I made one HELLA difference in the world!"

Well done, Twin!!
Bravo!  That is some Hope and Change I can get behind!  Back here all I am hoping for is some change left over after it all comes crumbling down.
Thank you for the great Hope and Change! Great event and great pictures!  Excellent work!
And Bill, LOVE your mustache :o)
That's a hell of an inspiring photo album right there.  You should be extremely proud, Bill.
Shucks, *any* bilingual RW combat vet 'Structor Pilot + Instrument Examiner + Aircrew Cockpit Coordination Training Trainer + Operations Officer + Flight Simulator Operator with 40 years' experience and 6,500 hours in eight different helicopters with previous experience instructing non-US students coulda done it.
Sweet...  It's always great to see the fruits of our labor.  These students had to go through a lot to get to where they are today.  It wasn't just a simple flight training program.  These guys risked their lives and the lives of their families and friends to attend this class.  I watched these Officers graduate from the Iraqi Military's Officer Training School. (I still have the video!  What a party!)  They made up a very small contingent of Air Force Officers in a sea of Army Officers, and their 'minority' within their graduating class made them even stronger. 

Thanks for keeping us up to date on how they're all doing.  A day hasn't gone by when I didn't think about everyone out there making this happen.

Can't wait until the students that follow these guys get to hop into AT-6s. 
Oh, geez, now I'll have to learn how to preflight a frakkin' *missile*?
Oh, geez, now I'll have to learn how to preflight a frakkin' *missile*?

Oh don't worry, Air Force Pilots all across NATO had to do that for decades...
 Good Show ol' Bean.   STS BS
Hah! Baby-san sneaks out from behind the drapes!

Where's Two-niner, still snowbound in the Poconos?
Great post - and awesome job, Bill.  Way kewl :-)