Second Lieutenant Kyle Partin of Los Alamos standing in front of a T-1. Courtesy photo
T-6. Courtesy photo
By BERNADETTE LAURITZEN
He started as a Chamisa Cheetah, ended up a stellar NJROTC Hilltopper and now Second Lieutenant Kyle Partin returns home as a newly minted Air Force pilot.
Partin attended Texas Tech University as a mechanical engineering student and ROTC cadet. His schooling involved leadership training opportunities and developing skills needed for military life. While ROTC was a necessary experience in order to earn a commission, Partin developed as a leader, joining the Sabre Flight Drill Team (SFDT).
The training helped him develop a strong team mentality and stressed quiet and confident professionalism over a loud ego.
He came to active duty in January 2018, about two weeks after graduating college and was assigned to the 47 th Flying Training Wing at Laughlin AFB, Texas. Upon arrival, students begin in-processing and then travel to Initial Flight Training (IFT) in Pueblo, Colo. He learned the basics of flying from the ground up with intense academic sessions that cover everything from the physics of flying and weather, to sounding professional while talking on the radio.
The next phases of training include IFT training, undergraduate pilot training, ground simulator training and a single prop, aerobatic simulator. At one point the
students flew once or twice a day for five months. During the final phase, they learn to fly a jet and focus on daily Air Force flying. They undertake mission planning to places across the country, and working together to ensure safety and correct procedures while flying.
“It’s been over a year of non-stop training, long days, learning more than I could reasonably describe and I’m ready to see my class’ hard work pay off,” Partin said. “It’s going to be sad when all of us leave and go to different aircraft across the world, but I know that if the community here was this excellent, then the community I end up in next, will be equally as dependable and good-natured.”
Drop Night happens just prior to graduation, and means everyone turns out to learn where aircraft and base assignments will take them. The experience also means each student gets a good-natured roast from their peers and instructors before their assignment drops. Assignments are awarded based on availability and performance. According to Partin, the number one student in the class gets their top choice and the last student in the class, gets whatever is left. Pilot training is exceptionally competitive to get into, and a strange balance of working together and being ranked against each other, but not overly competitive.
Partin said he loves flying and the community that surrounds him. While it is not easy, it’s an opportunity for anyone. So what does he recommend to those students in high school who may have been bitten with the idea?
“Work hard in high school, get good grades, play a team sport, be a nerd about something, but find something you like and learn everything about it,” Partin said. “I mean, everything. Memorize as much about it as you can, so that you can tell people way more about it than they want to know. Go to college, work hard and get good grades there, too, and join ROTC.”
Partin has been assigned to the 434th Flying Training Squadron as an instructor, specifically a FAIP (First Assignment Instructor Pilot). He will now attend Pilot Instructor Training (PIT), in San Antonio. His schooling will last approximately four months and qualify him in the T-6 and the skills needed to teach the training.
Partin is the proud son of Pastor Doug Partin and wife Marcie and brother to Lauren. Partin also is newly engaged with rumor of a wedding taking place in the mountains surrounding Los Alamos in the very near future.