AMC’s top general gets a first-hand look at UPT 2.5

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  • 71st Flying Training Wing Public Affairs

VANCE AIR FORCE BASE, Okla. – Gen. Mike Minihan, the commander of Air Mobility Command at Scott Air Force Base, Illinois, visited Vance Air Force Base, Aug. 25 - 26.

Minihan was the guest speaker for Undergraduate Pilot Training Class 22-14AU, where he focused his comments on how Airmanship influenced his career and how today’s students will forge the future.

In his speech, he spotlighted one of his executive officers in attendance, Maj. Courtney Vidt, a Vance graduate and First Assignment Instructor Pilot, who played a pivotal role in the 2021 Afghanistan evacuations. 

“Your actions matter. You’re going to deliver lethality and hope, sometimes in the same day,” said Minihan. “Major Vidt and her actions in Kabul are one example of that. She’s a true American hero and role model.”

He ended his remarks by addressing the graduating class. “I don’t remember who my graduation speaker was, but I remember all of my classmates and instructor pilots. I can name them all, even though it’s been thirty years. They pulled me across the finish line, forming a bond I’ll never forget.”

Following graduation, Minihan met with local Enid, Oklahoma, civic leaders to discuss Vance’s unique relationship with the surrounding community. 

“It’s always gratifying to see senior leaders visit Vance and see the great things they’re doing,” said Enid Mayor George Pankonin. “When we get the chance to showcase our partnership with the base, it’s definitely a high point.” 

Col. Jay Johnson, the 71st Flying Training Wing commander, toured the installation with Minihan after lunch, focusing on Team Vance’s support for the air mobility mission. 

“I love having the opportunity to show how Vance Airmen are leading the transformation of Undergraduate Pilot Training,” said Johnson. “AMC sends us a large percentage of our instructors, and two-thirds of our graduates head to mobility aircraft, so ensuring we’re teaching the skills mobility aviators need is vital to the success of not only AMC, but the Air Force as a whole.” 

Minihan recognized four superior performers, Capt. Kevin Morcombe, 1st Lts. John Maggos, Turner Howe and Adam Payne. The aviators were Vance’s High-Time Flyers, logging the most flight hours for their squadron in the last three months. 

He was then briefed on Air Mobility Fundamentals-Simulator, the Air Force’s next step in upgraded student pilot training. The AFM-S program will be piloted at Vance Air Force Base beginning in January 2023.

The visit concluded with a hands-on demonstration of the Common Immersive Training Device student pilots now use as part of the Undergraduate Pilot Training 2.5 curriculum, in addition to Vance’s flagship Comprehensive Readiness for Aircrew Flying Training human performance laboratory.

“This is the first time I’ve been back on a UPT base since I graduated in 1991, if you can believe that,” said Minihan. “But, I never forgot it takes the efforts of the collective to get these young men and women into the air. It’s a treat to be around people who truly love aviation.”