Air Force pilots graduate from EPIC program at JBSA

Joint Base San Antonio will witness history with a first-of-its-kind graduating class at Randolph Air Force Base. It's a graduation of EPIC proportions.

SAN ANTONIO - Joint Base San Antonio - Randolph Air Force Base will witness a bit of history on Friday with the first-ever "EPIC" Remotely Piloted Aircraft (RPA) graduation class.

Three Airmen make up this year's EPIC class which makes them the first-ever enlisted airmen to become RPA pilots.

"We never thought about it until the Secretary of the Air Force showed up, and then we were like... apparently this is a big deal," Master Sergeant Alex said.

In the Air Force, RPAs have always been flown by commissioned officers. But two years ago, the Air Force decided to allow enlisted airmen train as RPA pilots.

"The Air Force was looking for ways to bring qualified individuals from other career fields," Lieutenant Colonel Jason Thompson said.

The position of RPA pilot has become one of the Air Force's most in-demand career fields. The men and women behind the controls never get in the actual aircraft that they control, but their job is a very important one.

"We've got an airplane that almost has the wingspan of most passenger jets," Master Sergeant Mike said. "Flying in the same airspace that civilian airplanes are flying, there's a lot of responsibility involved in it."

The two master sergeants and one tech sergeant, along with the rest of their graduating class, will not get much recognition for what they do. KENS 5 is not even allowed to publish their last names in order to protect their identities.

According to all three, their focus is not on notoriety.

"At the end of the day, we're one family, and that's how you have to look at it," Tech Sergeant Michael said.

The first EPIC graduating class will walk the stage and move on to the next stage of their training on Friday at Randolph Air Force Base.

© 2017 KENS-TV


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