Vietnamese air force pilot graduates from US aviation leadership program

By Nguyen Hoang   June 7, 2019 | 04:44 pm GMT+7
Vietnamese air force pilot graduates from US aviation leadership program
Senior Lieutenant Dang Duc Toai has become the first Vietnamese to finish the Aviation Leadership Program run by the U.S. Air Force. Photo by U.S. Air Force.

Senior Lieutenant Dang Duc Toai has become the first Vietnamese to finish the U.S. Air Force’s Aviation Leadership Program.

Toai completed a military pilot training course lasting 52 weeks at the Columbus Air Force Base in Columbus, Mississippi State in line with the Aviation Leadership Program (ALP).

The ALP is a U.S. Air Force (USAF)-funded program that provides students of partners and developing countries with undergraduate pilot training scholarships.

He received the certificate at a ceremony on May 30, the USAF announced Thursday.

This was "a good chance for me to come here (and) study something new," Toai said, as cited in a statement by U.S. Air Force.

He also said he is looking forward to returning to Vietnam to help his fellow pilots with lessons learned from the course.

Before arriving at their pilot training base, ALP students attend a special purpose English language training course at the Defense Language Institute English Language Center at Joint-Base San Antonio Lackland, Texas. Toai began doing the course in 2016.

He arrived at Columbus air base and started ALP in May 2018 and had since flown the T-6 Texan II, a trainer aircraft, for more than 167 hours.

After Toai, Sub Lieutenant Doan Van Canh, now a trainee at Columbus air base, will become the second Vietnamese to graduate from the ALP program.

Vietnams Senior Lieutenant Dang Duc Toai (L) and Sublieutenant Doan Van Canh at the ceremony that sees Toai graduating from the U.S. aviation leadership program. Photo by USAF

Vietnam's Senior Lieutenant Dang Duc Toai (L) and Sublieutenant Doan Van Canh at the ceremony that sees Toai graduating from the U.S. aviation leadership program. Photo by U.S. Air Force.

Lieutenant General Steve Kwast, commander of Air Education and Training Command, said Toai’s graduation marks a significant step forward for the two countries’ air forces.

"Vietnam’s participation in the ALP is a tremendous milestone for the U.S. Air Force and Vietnam Air Defense-Air Force collaborative relationship."

"This type of training and cooperation enables Vietnam’s air force to increase its abilities in air and maritime operations. This partnership helps ensure peace and stability in the region and in the world," he said in a USAF statement.

The training of Vietnamese air force pilots in the U.S. reflects strengthening defense ties between the former foes.

Boeing subsidiary Insitu has received an order for six unmanned aerial vehicles from Vietnam worth $9.7 million.

It will also provide components and spare parts and training in their use, and send experts for technical support.

 
 
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