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Reservist on path to commissioning, cockpit

Tech. Sgt. Vladimir Mirochnitchenko, 944th LRS NCO-in-charge of general purpose vehicle maintenance, was recently selected to attend Officer Training School and Undergraduate Pilot Training.

Senior Airman Vladimir Mirochnitichenko, 944th Logistics Readiness Squadron vehicle maintenance technician, looks over a vehicle component during a past annual tour at Ramstein Air Base, Germany. Now, Tech. Sgt. Vladimir Mirochnitichenko, was recently selected to attend Officer Training School and Undergraduate Pilot Training. (U.S. Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. Louis Vega Jr.)

LUKE AIR FORCE BASE, Ariz. -- A Reserve Citizen Airman with the 944th Logistics Readiness Squadron is preparing to take to the skies with his selection to attend Officer Training School and Undergraduate Pilot Training.

Tech. Sgt. Vladimir Mirochnitchenko, 944th LRS NCO-in-charge of general purpose vehicle maintenance, was recently selected for the path to commissioning and the cockpit.

As a civilian systems test engineer for Raytheon Missile Systems in Tucson, Arizona, Mirochnitchenko hopes to soon work on the other end of the weapons he designs.

"Today I engineer weapons but have little experience with actually using them," he said. "Becoming a pilot will certainly provide me with the experience that will help me design better weapons for tomorrow's military."

Upon receiving orders for training, Mirochnitchenko will attend OTS for two months prior to attending UPT for a year. Every student flies the T-6 Texan then either the T-1 Jayhawk or the T-38 Talon depending on whether the student is tracked to fly cargo aircraft (T-1) or fighter/bomber aircraft (T-38).

Introduction to Fighter Fundamentals will be the next step in Mirochnitchenko's training if he can get sponsorship from a fighter or bomber unit.

"If I do not find a unit to sponsor me then I will end up being assigned to a cargo platform," said Mirochnitchenko. "If I do find a unit to sponsor me then I will fly that airframe during the final part of training and afterward. I want to be assigned to a fighter or bomber unit so I can work with weapons and get the experience that I am looking for."

Whether Mirochnitchenko trains to fly cargo aircraft or fighters, he hopes to someday become an instructor.

"If I end up flying cargo at first, I hope to eventually be able to transition to fighters or bombers," said Mirochnitchenko. "Either way, I want to become an instructor pilot and eventually attend weapons school."

Mirochnitchenko also hopes to rejoin Team Luke later in his career.

"If the stars line up, I will hopefully end up back here at Luke as an instructor pilot for F-35," he said.

The LRS NCO credits his leaders within the 944th Fighter Wing for helping him achieve his dream. Those leaders, in turn, are excited as Mirochnitchenko embarks on a new career path.

"I think M15's (his nickname within the squadron) selection for OTS is a testament to his dedication and hard work as well as the level of professionalism within the LRS," said Lt. Col. Cedric Finnen, 944 LRS commander. "I'm looking forward to seeing him do great things as an Air Force officer and pilot."

With this new chapter opening for him, Mirochnitchenko doesn't plan on ending his career anytime soon.

"After graduation, and by graduation I mean becoming a mission qualified pilot, I plan to fly full time until I am no longer medically qualified to do so," said Mirochnitchenko.

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