Anticipated as the premier aircraft in the IqAF, the first batch of eighteen F16s were expected in Iraq by 2015, and the initial cadre of Iraqi F--16 pilots were the most carefully screened airmen in the country.
The young lieutenant was selected as the first IqAF T-6 instructor pilot and later went on to fly the F-16.
The 6th SOS may be the premier combat aviation advisory force, but, shockingly, it was not the first unit called to stand up the IqAF
. (48) Although attempts to stand up the IqAF
began with the creation of the CMATT in January 2004, it was not until 22 February 2005, that two 6th SOS training teams arrived to start training the IqAF
For example, the IqAF 70 Squadron in Basrah flew more than 500 intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance missions in all of 2007.
In order to maintain their current numbers, the IqAF trains the next generation of Iraqi pilots at the Air Force Training College at Taji Air Base, Iraq, and a one-year satellite officer commissioning school at Ar Rustamayah.
In years past, HQ AETC/A3Q managed two air-advising aircrew and maintenance programs supporting the IqAF that demonstrate the capacity for air-advising efforts to reach their desired end state.
Three of these aircraft, modified to serve in an ISR capacity, were delivered to the IqAF in 2007.
I redeployed from Iraq in November 2011, having had the privilege of commanding the 52d Expeditionary Flying Training Squadron (the USAF's only such squadron), which included instructor pilots who trained IqAF pilots in Iraqi T-6s--the same aircraft the USAF uses for pilot training.
Specifically, the 52d sought "to advise, train, and assist in building an [IqAF] with foundational and enduring capabilities in flying training while establishing a continuing relationship between the United States and Iraqi air forces." (2) Simply stated, our mission was to train IqAF pilots to fly and become instructor pilots.
On 18 August 2003, the Coalition Provisional Authority's order number 22 authorized the creation of new Iraqi armed forces, including a new IqAF. (4) letters of authorization, however, do not build air forces.
But the approach developed to address the unique challenges facing the IqAF offers a good framework to consider in future situations, if and when the Us Air Force finds itself helping a struggling nation build or rebuild an air force.