Italian training deputy visits ENJJPT

Lt. Gen. Gian Piero Ristori, Italian deputy commander of the School of the Air Force, visits with Maj. Rick Folkening of the 90th Flying Training Squadron May 19 before the general’s flight in a T-38C Talon. (U.S. Air Force photo/Mike Litekken).

Lt. Gen. Gian Piero Ristori, Italian deputy commander of the School of the Air Force, visits with Maj. Rick Folkening of the 90th Flying Training Squadron May 19 before the general’s flight in a T-38C Talon. (U.S. Air Force photo/Mike Litekken).

SHEPPARD AIR FORCE BASE, Texas -- Italian pilots of the 80th Flying Training Wing were able to gain insight from home leadership as Lt. Gen. Gian Piero Ristori, Italian deputy commander of the School of the Air Force, visited here last week to speak at a Euro-NATO Joint Jet Pilot Training graduation. 

General Ristori is the equivalent to Air Education and Training Command Vice Commander Lt. Gen. Dennis Larsen. He substitutes for the commander when he is not available and oversees flying training in the United States, Canada and Italy. 

Although the purpose for his trip was to speak at the ENJJPT graduation, it also provided an opportunity for the general to tour the 80th FTW facilities and hold an Italian student and instructor pilot commander's call. 

"It is a great experience for all of us to learn together in this program," General Ristori said. "NATO nations practice the same procedures and safety together that will help for the success of the mission. Joint training is a very welcome experience." 

He was impressed with how professional and skillful pilots are when they return to Italy after the training they receive here. He attributed part of that to the great facilities used here to train pilots. 

"The tour of the facilities shows how all of the countries training here can see how other nations do things and take these great practices and experience back to their home nation to improve their own programs," he said. 

During his visit he also had a flight in the wing's newest aircraft, the T-38C, which gave him the opportunity to see what equipment Italy's pilots are using to learn combat pilot skills. 

"It was an interesting trip. I enjoyed the T-38 flight I had and was honored to speak at the graduation," the general said. "The things I saw here this week will be used to analyze what we do in Italy and improve our practices as well."