By U.S. Air Force Staff Sgt. Christopher Frost
KIRKUK, Iraq By age 15, his destiny was already set by Saddam Husseins regime he was to become a fighter pilot, a necessity in the bloody war with Iran. He took the controls of a Bravo, a single engine, propeller-driven training aircraft, and performed his first solo flight before most Americans could even drive.
Today, Iraqi Air Force Maj. Abbas, his name changed in this story for security reasons, serves once again in the Iraqi Air Force, but hes no longer asked to fly for the dictator but to fly for his country.
Abbas is an instructor pilot with the Iraqi Flying Training School in Kirkuk, Iraq, where he teaches initial pilot training to future Iraqi pilots. Like many instructor pilots who have returned to the school to teach, he was a fighter pilot under Husseins regime with a great deal of experience and training.
My education was only for flying, said Abbas, while he kept watch over a pitche