BARKSDALE AFB, LA (KSLA) - After eight months of training, nearly 30 aviators graduated from the B-52 Formal Training Unit on Friday.
These men and women spent the last 8 months covering all aspects and operations of the iconic B-52 Stratofortress. From here, they will officially join B-52 aircrews to help continue the mission of global deterrence and participate in combat missions.
"These aviators have gone through their Air Force career so far and have had a number of milestones, this is really the last step to become a full combat aviator," said 11th Bomb Squadron Commander, Lt. Col. Bill Fish.
"Some of these young aviators are going to find themselves in combat situations within the next couple of months, some of them will be going off flying around the world doing deterrence and assurance missions," he continued. "This is their last step to being a full-fledged B-52 aviator."
"This aircraft is so legendary in the Air Force inventory, no other aircraft has done as much damage, and really done as much good work for the guys on the ground and just for the national objectives as the B-52. It's an honor to be a part of this community," explained graduate, now B-52 pilot, Cpt. Cody Anderson.
To Anderson, the B-52 is the best of both worlds when it comes to combat in the Air Force.
"The single seat mindset is awesome of the fighter world, and the cargo world is awesome for the travel, but there really is no better combination I think of being part of the fight and being part of a community where you get to fly with a lot of other people on the aircraft and work together," said Anderson, "So I'm really happy to be a part of the B-52."
Half of Friday's FTU 17-01 will stay at Barksdale, while the other have will relocate to teams in Minot, North Dakota.