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'Flying classroom' retires after 37 years of service


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The last combat systems officer training aircraft was retired from service in a ceremony here Sept. 17.

The T-43, also known as the 'Gator,' is a version of the Boeing 737, and has served as a training platform for navigators, now known as combat systems officers, since 1973.

"We call it the flying classroom," said Lt. Col. Pete Deitschel, the commander of the 562nd Flying Training Squadron, one of two T-43 training squadrons at Randolph Air Force Base. "It's designed for undergraduate navigator training. We are using the term combat systems officer now, just because of what our students do in the operation world. It's not necessarily navigating from point A to point B anymore. It's incorporating all the systems on an aircraft."

Originally based at Mather AFB, Calif., the T-43 has been in service at Randolph AFB since 1992.

:snip: Edited by Rheo
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