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Stennis lays platform for international pilots

USS JOHN C. STENNIS, at sea— The U.S. has been refining naval aviation for nearly a century. Today, the Navy shares its expertise with allied nations.

Two pilots from India completed their Training Command Carrier Qualification (TCCQ) aboard USS John C. Stennis (CVN 74) on May 16.

“It’s a huge win-win situation,” said Stennis Commanding Officer, Brad Johanson. “We have Indian pilots getting their carrier qualifications on U.S carriers, helping to further our coalition goals and tie us together on a global level.”

TCCQ is the final major task that must be completed before pilots receive their wings of gold. More than 50 pilots from France, India and the U.S participated in the training. For a successful carrier qualification, each pilot is strictly graded on 10 arrested-gear landings and four touch-and-goes.

“The carrier qualification evolution is the last rite of passage,” said Capt. John Wood, commodore, Training Air Wing (TW) 1. “It’s important to make sure they have the right skill set when they get their wings, so they can move up to more advanced aircraft.”

Pilots training with the U.S are able to qualify much faster than they could in their home countries.

“It’s really important for me to have a good relationship with America,” said Lt. Eshudosh Bobade, a pilot for the Indian Navy. “I get to come here and train with a United States carrier. If I was in India right now, it would take me four or five years to get this carrier qualification.”

Training Air Wing (TW) 2 began training Indian Naval students in 2006 and graduated the first class for the Indian Navy in 2007. The training aligns with the Navy’s maritime strategy; working with global partners to protect the maritime freedom that is the basis for global prosperity.

“International training is very important,” said Wood. “These programs bring foreign officers and enlisted men into our war colleges and our flight training. You build a friendship and camaraderie with them that will last a lifetime.”

The TCCQ training aboard Stennis can help bolster not only individual friendships, but the friendships between nations as well.

“This is a great opportunity for me,” said Bobade. “I’m really thankful to the U.S. Navy to give me such a wonderful opportunity to come here and land on a carrier. It’s just awesome.”

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