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An Elephant Walk to Remember
Department of Defense | May. 2, 2023
An elephant walk — the Air Force term for a close formation of aircraft taxiing en masse before takeoff — is big by definition. But the one airmen recently conducted at Sheppard Air Force Base, Texas, was big even by elephant walk standards.
Trumpeted by the base's 82nd Training Wing as "possibly the largest and most unique 'elephant walk' in Air Force history," the event made for quite a photo op on the flight line.
It comprised 80 aircraft — 40 T-38 Talons and 40 T-6A Texans assigned to the 80th Flying Training Wing.
Four thousand airmen participated as well — students assigned to the 82nd Training Wing.
The mammoth event wasn't just going for clicks and likes though. As home to three of the Air Force's eight technical training groups, its largest noncommissioned officer academy and the Euro-NATO Joint Jet Pilot Training Program, Sheppard plays a pivotal role in training for the Air Force, as well as for partner nations.
"The key to air power is exceptional airmen, and the key to exceptional airmen is exceptional training," Brig. Gen. Lyle K. Drew, the 82nd Training Wing commander, said. "That's what we do here at Sheppard, and this elephant walk was our message to the world that the U.S. and its international partners remain committed to delivering the best trained airmen in the world."