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Airmen trade blue stripes for gold bars, silver wings

Maj. Gen. Mark Weatherington, Air Education and Training Command deputy commander, presents 2nd Lt. Kristen Savage with her pilot’s wings during a dual commissioning and “winging” ceremony Dec. 19, 2019, at Maxwell Air Force Base, Alabama. Savage was a student pilot who graduated PTN version 2, an Air Education and Training Command program to explore what is possible in training with the use of innovative technology and how it can be applied to not only pilot training but also to training across AETC.  She earned her wings, but couldn’t wear them until she commissioned. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Quay Drawdy)

Maj. Gen. Mark Weatherington, Air Education and Training Command deputy commander, presents 2nd Lt. Kristen Savage with her pilot’s wings during a dual commissioning and “winging” ceremony Dec. 19, 2019, at Maxwell Air Force Base, Alabama. Savage was a student pilot who graduated PTN version 2, an Air Education and Training Command program to explore what is possible in training with the use of innovative technology and how it can be applied to not only pilot training but also to training across AETC. She earned her wings, but couldn’t wear them until she commissioned. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Quay Drawdy)

Maj. Gen. Mark Weatherington, Air Education and Training Command deputy commander, presents 2nd Lt. Micah Daniel with his pilot’s wings during a dual commissioning and “winging” ceremony Dec. 19, 2019, at Maxwell Air Force Base, Alabama. Daniel made history as one of the first prior-enlisted Airmen to receive pilot’s wings at the same time as his lieutenant’s bars. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Quay Drawdy)

Maj. Gen. Mark Weatherington, Air Education and Training Command deputy commander, presents 2nd Lt. Micah Daniel with his pilot’s wings during a dual commissioning and “winging” ceremony Dec. 19, 2019, at Maxwell Air Force Base, Alabama. Daniel made history as one of the first prior-enlisted Airmen to receive pilot’s wings at the same time as his lieutenant’s bars. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Quay Drawdy)

Second Lt. Kristen Savage receives her pilot’s wings during a dual commissioning and “winging” ceremony Dec. 19, 2019, at Maxwell Air Force Base, Alabama. Savage was a student pilot who graduated PTN version 2, an Air Education and Training Command program to explore what is possible in training with the use of innovative technology and how it can be applied to not only pilot training but also to training across AETC.  She earned her wings, but couldn’t wear them until she commissioned. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Quay Drawdy)

Second Lt. Kristen Savage receives her pilot’s wings during a dual commissioning and “winging” ceremony Dec. 19, 2019, at Maxwell Air Force Base, Alabama. Savage was a student pilot who graduated PTN version 2, an Air Education and Training Command program to explore what is possible in training with the use of innovative technology and how it can be applied to not only pilot training but also to training across AETC. She earned her wings, but couldn’t wear them until she commissioned. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Quay Drawdy)

Second Lt. Micah Daniel receives his pilot’s wings during a dual commissioning and “winging” ceremony Dec. 19, 2019, at Maxwell Air Force Base, Alabama. Daniel earned his wings at Pilot Training Next version 2 before Officer Training School and commissioning – basically working backwards to become a pilot. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Quay Drawdy)

Second Lt. Micah Daniel receives his pilot’s wings during a dual commissioning and “winging” ceremony Dec. 19, 2019, at Maxwell Air Force Base, Alabama. Daniel earned his wings at Pilot Training Next version 2 before Officer Training School and commissioning – basically working backwards to become a pilot. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Quay Drawdy)

MAXWELL AIR FORCE BASE, Ala. --

Few things tell an Airman it’s time for a fresh uniform quite like swapping enlisted stripes for second lieutenant’s rank. For a pair of former airmen first class, now second lieutenants, their gold bars come with silver pilots’ wings.

Officer Training School graduates, 2nd Lts. Micah Daniel and Kristen Savage, received their commissions Dec. 19, 2019, and were former enlisted student pilots who participated in Air Education and Training Command’s Pilot Training Next version 2 program. 

Both lieutenants actually earned their pilot wings first, upon completion of Pilot Training Next, but had to wait to complete OTS to wear the wings.

“Newly commissioned Lieutenants Daniel and Savage are making history today and I am extremely proud and honored to be here and to be a part of the ‘winging’ tradition for them,” said Lt. Col. Ryan Riley, Detachment 24 commander. “They were top-notch students during Pilot Training Next and it’s great to see them get wings pinned on.  Both lieutenants possess qualities that the Air Force needs and I look forward to watching them grow and succeed as Air Force officers and pilots.”

Since they earned their wings before commissioning, they are making Air Force history.

“It doesn’t feel like making history when you’re doing it,” said Savage. “It feels hard and when it’s over you can look back at what you did and everyone who helped you and see you were all part of change.”

Having finished their training to become officers, both Daniel and Savage will be making their way to their respective training units with a pair of wings having landed on their uniforms.

“I don’t know what waits for me, but I know it will be fun,” said Daniel.

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