A total of 33 junior officers are scheduled to graduate from Specialized Undergraduate Pilot Training in two separate ceremonies today at Vance Air Force Base.
Twenty officers are scheduled to graduate in Class 19-10 at 9 a.m., followed by 13 officers in Class 19-16 at 11 a.m., both in the Vance Air Force Base Auditorium.
Lt. Gen. Thomas Sharpy is scheduled to speak at Class 19-10’s graduation ceremony. Sharpy is Deputy Chief of Staff for Capability Development, Headquarters Allied Command Transformation, Norfolk, Va. He is responsible for developing operational and strategic capability requirements on behalf of 29 NATO nations, according to his Air Force bio.
Sharpy graduated from the U.S. Air Force Academy in 1987 and completed undergraduate pilot training in 1988 at Columbus Air Force Base, Miss. His career has involved numerous supervisory and leadership positions at wing, major command and air staff levels. He also served in a number of joint assignments, including Senior Military Aide to the Vice President of the United States; Director of Plans, Programs and Analyses for Headquarters U.S. Air Forces in Europe and U.S. Air Forces Africa, Ramstein Air Base, Germany; Vice Commander, 18th Air Force, Scott Air Force Base, Ill.; and Director, Strategic Plans, Requirements and Programs, Headquarters Air Mobility Command, Scott AFB, Illinois.
Prior to his current assignment, General Sharpy served as Deputy Commander, Air Mobility Command, at Scott AFB, where he was responsible for the Air Force’s air mobility strategic transportation mission and fleet of more than 1,160 aircraft.
Sharpy is a command pilot with more than 4,000 flight hours in the T-37, T-38, KC-135, C-5 and C-17 aircraft.
Retired Maj. Gen. H. D. Polumbo Jr. is scheduled to address Class 19-16 during their graduation ceremony today. Polumbo’s last active duty assignment before retiring in October, 2015 was as commander, Ninth Air Force, Air Combat Command, Shaw Air Force Base, S.C.
As of July 2015, Ninth Air Force comprised eight active-duty wings and three direct reporting units in the Southeastern United States with more than 400 aircraft and 29,000 active-duty and civilian personnel. Ninth Air Force also was responsible for the operational readiness of 16 Air Reserve Component wings.
Polumbo entered active duty in 1981 as a graduate of the U.S. Air Force Academy. He commanded at the squadron, group and three times at the wing level including a year-long deployment as Commander of the 380th Air Expeditionary Wing in the U.S. Central Command area of responsibility where he also led planning and deployment of the first U.S. Army Patriot Battalion on his base in the area of responsibility.
He also served in joint positions with Headquarters Allied Air Forces Northwestern Europe, NATO, and as the Assistant Deputy Director for Global Operations on the Joint Staff. Polumbo served as the commander, 9th Air and Space Expeditionary Task Force- Afghanistan; deputy commander-Air, U.S. Forces-Afghanistan; and deputy chief of Staff-Air, International Security Assistance Force Joint Command where he oversaw three air expeditionary air wings and three expeditionary groups consisting of more than 4,500 airmen directly engaged in combat operations for Operation Enduring Freedom missions.
The general is a command pilot with 4,000 flying hours in all blocks of the F-16 Fighting Falcon, including combat sorties in Operation Northern Watch. He also holds the distinction as the first Air Force general officer to fly the U-2S in combat and completed 21 operational U-2 missions in Operations Enduring and Iraqi Freedom. The general also flew combat missions in the MC-12W weapon system during Operation Enduring Freedom.