First Assignment Instructor Pilots Enrich Tactical Development through Hellenic Air Force Partnership

  • Published
  • By 2d Lt. Lauren Niemi
  • 80th FTW Public Affairs

In September 2023, six Euro-NATO Joint Jet Pilot Training First Assignment Instructor Pilots were invited to Greece by the Hellenic Air Force to participate in a first-of-its-kind cultural and knowledge exchange.


The trip was primarily billed as instructor development for FAIPs. ENJJPT instructs a multinational group of students, most of whom have never worked with partner nations outside of the program. An opportunity to visit a partner nation provides insight into how other nations operate, as well as understanding of how students might feel in a foreign host nation.


The group toured five aircraft types and six simulators across four air bases. These visits included the 114th Combat Wing at Tanagra Air Base; the Synthetic Training Squadron and Hellenic Air Force Weapons School at Andravida Air Base; the 120th Training Wing--which conducts undergraduate pilot training and features the new M-346 training aircraft--at Kalamata Air Base; and the Hellenic Air Force Academy.


Following their exploration of the facilities, the instructors embarked on tours of important Greek cultural sites, including ancient Olympia, guided by one of the site's top archaeologists. The pilots also had the opportunity to reconnect with their peers who had previously trained them as instructors in Wichita Falls, despite now living thousands of miles apart. 


The international nature of ENJJPT creates the foundation for exchanging training insights, operations, and heritage that will continue to benefit these young aviators throughout their careers as well as strengthen the strong connection between the two allied nations.


"FAIPs have minimal experience working with NATO partners outside of the UPT bubble,” said Captain Connor Sipe, one of the attendees and trip lead, “Sending them to a NATO partner provides them insight into how other nations operate, both culturally and tactically, as well as give them a first-hand look at how students might feel in a foreign host nation, all of which will ultimately give them better ability to instruct ENJJPT’s students.”


In addition, sending FAIPs out to see fighter squadrons help steep them in tactics and fighter culture, increasing their ability to teach at ENJJPT and helping prepare them for their follow-on assignment.


Upon returning from the trip, the instructors carried with them a token of their travels, the crest of the Hellenic Air Force, to be displayed at the wing.