Class 24-07 students receive their Air Force pilot wings during graduation ceremony, March 29

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  • 71st Flying Training Wing Public Affairs

VANCE AIR FORCE BASE, Okla. – Twenty-five students in Undergraduate Pilot Training Class 24-07 received their wings during a ceremony held March 29 at Vance Air Force Base.

Having completed their initial aviation training in the T-6A Texan II, the newly pinned pilots will continue in either the T-1A Jayhawk or the T-38C Talon training programs at Vance.

The guest speaker at the Class 24-07 graduation ceremony was Brig. Gen. Melissa Coburn, the 22nd Air Force commander at Dobbins Air Reserve Base, Georgia. She earned her pilot wings at Vance Air Force Base in April 1994. Coburn is a command pilot with 5,400 flight hours, including 279 combat hours, in the T-37 Tweet, T-38 Talon, C-141B Starlifter, C-12J Huron, KC-135 Stratotanker and the C-17A Globemaster III. 

“I haven’t been back to Vance in a while,” said Coburn to the new pilots and their family and friends. “I am dating myself but it has been 30 years since I graduated.”

She said the Class 24-07 graduates represent a younger generation, making it important to move forward in how pilots are trained. “The things I saw here, including the virtual reality training simulators and CRAFT, are revolutionary,” said Coburn. “I think it is a good thing.”

CRAFT is the acronym for Comprehensive Readiness for Aircrew Flying Training, a program that tackles physical, mental and nutrition education by treating student pilots like professional athletes. Development and testing of the CRAFT program began at Vance in October 2020. The dedicated CRAFT facility opened in late January 2022.

Class 24-07 award winners were:
2nd Lt. Benjamin Sager received the Academic Award;
Maj. Thomas Marugg received the Leadership Award and the Wingman Award;
2nd Lt. Matthew Zalon received the Flying Training Award and was named a Distinguished Graduate;
2nd Lt. Pierce Brunner received the Air Education & Training Command Commander’s Trophy and was named a Distinguished Graduate.

Also receiving their pilot wings during the ceremony were:
Maj. Meagan Kemp; Capts. Dominick Fears, Dung Nguyen and Joshua Reese; 1st Lt. John Ursino; 2nd Lts. Victoria Canon, Attila Csipak, Jacob Faigin, Joseph Haney, Jacob Neumann, Dominic Proefrock, Bryant Pyle, James Records, John Sampson, Aimee Sayers, Asher Scarlett, Ethan Torres, Joseph Van Hyning, Balazs Vimpek, Chase Wescott and Ashley Williams.