History of 80th Flying Training Wing & ENJJPT

The 80th Flying Training Wing activated at Sheppard Air Force Base, Texas, on Jan. 1, 1973, to replace the 3630 FTW and continue its flying training mission. At that point, the wing trained German and South Vietnamese student pilots alongside American student pilots for the Military Assistance Program.

The 80th FTW served previously in WWII as the 80th Fighter Group. The 80th FG and its assigned squadrons — the 88th, 89th, 90th, and 459th Fighter Squadrons — began operations in India in September 1943, flying P-38 Lightning and P-40 Warhawk aircraft. The group supported Allied ground forces and flew tactical bombing and strafing missions, earning a Distinguished Unit Citation for preventing an attack on a large oil refinery on March 27, 1944. Following the war, the 80th FG returned to the United States and was inactivated. While the 80th FG was active for less than four years, it earned two campaign streamers, a service streamer, and a Distinguished Unit Citation. Today, these streamers fly on the flag of the 80th FTW.

The 80th Flying Training Wing conducts the Euro-NATO Joint Jet Pilot Training Program, sponsored by the North Atlantic Treaty organization. The 55-week program is designed to produce pilots qualified for assignments to combat aircraft.

While the ENJJPT program began in 1981, international flying training at Sheppard AFB had an earlier start. The 3630th FTW provided undergraduate pilot training for the German air force since August 1966 and the Vietnamese air force from July 1971 to April 1975. The 3630th was inactivated on Jan. 1, 1973, but its personnel and resources remained to activate the 80th FTW on that same day. In November 1974, the wing began training students from other nations under the terms of the Security Assistance Training Program. Among the first group were students from Iran, El Salvador and Kuwait. The ENJJPT program offers combat-oriented pilot training to 13 participating countries. They are: Belgium, Canada, Denmark, Germany, Greece, Italy, The Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, Spain, Turkey, the United Kingdom, and the United States.

ENJJPT was originally viewed as an interim solution for a European undergraduate pilot training program. But after years of study, the ENJJPT planning committee concluded the optimal location for the program was Sheppard AFB. The ENJJPT program trains more than 200 undergraduate pilots each year. Five participating nations —Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Norway and the United States — currently provide both students and instructors to the program. Canada, Greece, Spain and Turkey also contribute instructor pilots to the multinational staff.

The 80th FTW began to host the Introduction to Fighter Fundamentals program in January 1994. The program is a six-week course producing approximately 150 graduates per year. This course introduces basic fighter maneuvers to pilot training graduates who have been assigned to fly fighter-type aircraft. The wing also operates its own pilot instructor training program, which produces approximately 70 new instructors each year in support of undergraduate pilot training.