While lawmakers on both side of the aisle in Washington, D.C. continue to contest the Biden Administration’s proposal to send additional aid to both Ukraine and Israel, former U.S. Marine and current U.S. Congressman Ruben Gallego (D-AZ) is welcoming a group of Ukrainian Air Force pilots to The Grand Canyon State.
It’s an honor to welcome our Ukrainian friends to AZ. There’s no better place to train or better pilots to train with! https://t.co/z3LonG7MNf— Ruben Gallego (@RepRubenGallego) October 31, 2023
According to local news station KGUN9, “Ukrainian Air Force Pilots are in Tucson now, training to fly F-16 fighters. Ukrainians will train with an Arizona Air National Guard unit especially skilled at training foreign pilots.”
Ukrainian Air Force Pilots are in Tucson now, training to fly F-16 fighters. Ukrainians will train with an Arizona Air National Guard unit especially skilled at training foreign pilots. https://t.co/PDfpVzjGtv— KGUN 9 (@kgun9) October 31, 2023
The Pentagon confirms Ukrainian pilots are in Tucson now to learn to fly the F-16 with the Air National Guard’s 162nd Wing. (The F-16s share the runways with civilian air traffic at Tucson International Airport; the Morris Air National Guard base sits on the perimeter of the airport.)
Retired Two-Star General Ted Maxwell, former Commander of the Arizona Air National Guard, said the biggest obstacle to the training is language.
General Maxwell said of the F-16 training: “When you’re trying to do it at 400 miles an hour or faster or slower in some cases, and you’re trying to instruct from the back seat, on the fly, while things are happening, especially if it’s somebody whose English skills aren’t strong, it can be pretty challenging.”