Class 16-11 launches 22 new pilots

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VANCE AIR FORCE BASE, Okla. – Twenty-two junior officers received their pilot wings during Class 16-11’s graduation ceremony July 8 at Vance Air Force Base.

All but two will leave here for other locations for additional aviation training. Those two will remain at Vance AFB as first-assignment instructor pilots in the T-6A Texan II.

Two international allied students trained with Class 16-11, and will returned to Kenya to fly fighter aircraft.

Retired Maj. Gen. Thomas Masiello was the graduation speaker. Until his recent retirement, Masiello was the Air Force Research Laboratory commander at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio.

He is also the father of Class 16-11 graduate, 1st Lt. Robert Masiello. The lieutenant’s mother, Lt. Gen. Wendy Masiello, Defense Contract Management Agency director, also attended the graduation.

The auditorium was filled with guests, family and friends of Class 16-11. Also attending was Specialized Undergraduate Pilot Training Class 17-11, the newest class of student pilots.

Following comments by Col. Darrell Judy, the 71st Flying Training Wing commander, and Masiello, the graduation speaker, awards for academic excellence, leadership and flying training were presented by Col. Paul Johnson, the 71st Operations Group commander.

Judy presented the distinguished graduate awards, followed by Masiello presenting the Air Education and Training Command commander’s trophies.

The wing commander then presented graduation certificates and a set of pilot wings to the new pilots. Masiello shook each graduate’s hand, passed on words of encouragement, and gave his son a hardy hug.

Award winners in Class 16-11 were:
Academic Excellence in the T-1A Jayhawk, 1st Lt. John A. Dewilder; T-38 Talon, 2nd Lt. Bradley Penner.
Leadership Award in the T-1, 2nd Lt. McKenna J. Hall; T-38, Capt. Joseph Soldin.
Flying Training Award in the T-1, 2nd Lt. Ryan A. Kramer; T-38, 2nd Lt. Bradley Penner.
Distinguished Graduate in the T-1, 2nd Lt. Ryan A. Kramer; T-38, 2nd Lt. Bradley Penner.
The Daedalian AETC Commander’s Trophy in the T-1, 2nd Lt. Ryan A. Kramer; T-38, 2nd Lt. Bradley Penner.

Recipients of the Risner River Rats Awards were: T-1, 1st Lt. Shelby S. Coats; T-38, 2nd Lt. Bradley Penner.

The 22 new pilots in Class 16-11 were: Capt. Joseph S. Soldin; 1st Lts. Kenneth S. Appel, Jason S. Burbach, Shelby S. Coats, Sean M. Cork, John A. DeWilder, Daniel J. Funk, Herbert J. Ice III, Katelyn R. Jenkins, Aloice K. Kemboi, Victor V. Keyes, Eugene H. Lefebvre III, Dana P. Luebbe, Angus J. MacDonald III, Peter O. Mairura, Robert T. Masiello; 2nd Lts. McKenna J. Hall, Samuel B. Green, Travis L. Jones, Ryan A. Kramer, Bradley W. Penner and Jake D. Schafer.

The graduates received assignments for training in the:
KC-135 Stratotanker, an aerial refueling and transport aircraft;
F-16 Fighting Falcon, a compact, multi-role fighter aircraft;
C-17 Globemaster III, the Air Force’s newest, most flexible cargo aircraft;
C-130 Hercules, a tactical airlift-vehicle capable of operating from undeveloped airfields;
E-3 Sentry, an airborne warning and control system;
F-15E Strike Eagle, a dual-role fighter designed to perform air-to-air and air-to-ground missions;
A-10 Thunderbolt II, a close-air-support platform capable of excellent maneuverability at low air speeds and altitudes;
C-21, a twin turbofan-engine aircraft used for cargo and passenger airlift;
T-6A Texan II, a single-engine, two-seat primary trainer;
MQ-9 Reaper, an armed, multi-mission, medium-altitude, long-endurance remotely piloted aircraft;
E-8, an airborne battle management, command and control, intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance platform;
AC-130, a close air support, air interdiction and armed reconnaissance aircraft;
F-5, a supersonic light fighter aircraft.