US Soldiers Teach Iraqi Pilots on Flying

IRAQ – It may sound a joke but US soldiers are now giving flight lessons to Iraqi soldiers at the Kirkuk Regional Air Base. Even Col. Mark Bennet could not imagine himself flying a plane in Iraq with Saddam’s former air force member. Bennet was one of those American pilots who dropped 2,000-pound bombs at the Iraqi Air Base during the invasion at the Iraqi soil, and now he came to rebuild the facility again. The American pilot is among the 80 Americans currently training Saddam’s former pilots. The pilot school is yet to be inaugurated this week according to a very reliable source. The goal of training the pilots is to rebuild the Iraqi air force – touted before as one of the world largest air forces. In fact, the former Iraqi Air Force is the six largest all over the globe.

In October, this year, many Iraqi cadets have started training at the new classrooms and flight simulators build by the US military. The military school for professional pilots has been a good opportunity for many Iraqi pilots. Americans trained them on Cessna planes and helicopters. Brig. Gen. Bob Allardice said the goal of the program is to help the Iraqi build their air force that can assist counter insurgency problems. Allardice said with the program the Iraqis can eventually defend their borders.

It was also known that half of those who trained at the Military training school at Kirkuk were members of the Iraqi Air Force enhancing their skills as well as trying to become instructors in the process. It was learned that Iraqi pilots were trained by the US since 2005 but the military training school in Kirkuk is first to hire new recruits to become a traditional flight school in the future. Student recruits will be accepted in the one year school program.

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