LAUGHLIN AIR FORCE BASE, Texas --
First Lt. Claire Latscha, a 87th Flying Training Squadron instructor pilot, was chosen by wing leadership to be the “XLer” of the Week, for the week of May 13, 2019, at Laughlin Air Force Base, Texas.
The “XLer” award, presented by Col. Lee Gentile, 47th Flying Training Wing commander, is given to those who consistently make outstanding contributions to their unit and the Laughlin mission.
Latscha helped the 19th Air Force pen new techniques for aviators flying in the T-38C Talon airframe. These new tools helps strengthen the Specialized Undergraduate Pilot Training program for the fighter aircraft track and is now used across all of Air Education and Training Command.
“We have kind of a techniques guide, but that’s one way of doing something.” said Capt. Vanessa Beaudreault, flight commander and instructor pilot for the nacho flight at the 87th Flying Training Squadron. “We have an old product almost from when the T-38 was created and she brought a little of the modern day to it.”
She was also handpicked to be Laughlin’s representative to the U.S. Air Force Thunderbirds for Laughlin’s upcoming Fiesta of Flight 2020 Air and Space Expo. She’s not only entrusted with a more than fifteen million dollar budget and resources, but also helps bring the Thunderbirds to Laughlin for the first time in more than a decade.
“She’s pretty much their lifeline for them coming to Laughlin,” Beaudreault said. “Due to the intricacies of it, they had to start really early.”
Latscha also helped to identify a significant issue in the aircrew relief device used in training. She joined together with five separate wings across the Air Force to ensure the safety and effective training for all new aircrew in the Air Force.
“During a TDY we were discussing things that are a hindrance to female pilots for flight equipment and we all mentioned not being able to use the bathroom in the aircraft because we didn’t have the equipment we needed,” Beaudreault said. “So Latscha and another woman came up with a fix to send to headquarters Air Force to help pilots on how to use their aircrew equipment.”
Due to her work in coordinating with other agencies to better pilot training and aircrew training programs across the Air Force, and for being the base’s representative to the Thunderbirds for the upcoming Air and Space Expo, Latscha has earned this week’s “XLer of the Week.”