120th Air Training Wing - 116 Air Πτέρυγα Εκπαίδευσης

Kalamatha(Καλαμάτα) Air Base is located near the omonimous town on the southern coast of the Peloponnese. The base dates back to 1960, although the 120th Air Training Group was established only in 1970 equipped with the Lockheed T-33. The following year the old T-33 were aggregated with the newest Cessna T-37B / C. They fly together for a short time because already in 1976, the Grumman T-2E/ C Buckeye replaced the Shooting Star and the Group become the current 120th Air Training Wing (120 Πτέρυγα Εκπάιδευσης Αέρος). In 2000, the T-37 were scrapped for the Hawker Beechcraft T-6A Texans II. The wing is now in charge of cadets’s basic training and of 2nd Liuetenants, covering the central phases of Greek’s pilot training. In particular, the two sqd flying the Texans, the 361st (361 Μοίρα Εκπαίδευσης Αέρος) and 364th sqd(364 Μοίρα Εκπαίδευσης Αέρος) focus on the introduction on the fly without neglecting the importance of today technology. As for the 362nd (362 Μοίρα Εκπαίδευσης Αέρος) and 363rd (361 Μοίρα Εκπαίδευσης Αέρος) sqd with T-2 Buckeye the main task is to train pilots to fighter jets and to the basics of air-to-air and air-to-ground combat. It should be noted that the instructors of T-6 are also responsible, in case of special events, like the 2004 Olympics, to ensure the air cover of the so-called Slow Mover. Today the base Kalamatha it’s one of the European busiest training center, thanks to the excellent weather conditions. In particular, during our visit there was a Italian 61st Wing instructor pilot ,for a couple of years of Squadron Exchange. Note that not all pilots go through Kalamatha, in fact many are trained in the United States (Sheppard AFB) and in Europe, as the 61st Wing of Galatina Lecce in Italy.




The 361 ° Squadron Air Training "Mystras"

The squadron was created in 1963 at the 112th Combat Wing, with the Cessna T-37 jet as 360th Training Squadron. In 1971 the squadron moved to Kalamatha and three years later was renamed 361 Basic Training Squadron. For almost 40 years the squadron used the T-37 until in 2000 when he received from the United States the new T-6 Texans II. In 2006 following a reorganization of the training activities the squadron was renamed the 361st Air Training Squadron.

The 364th Air Training Squadron "Pelops"

It 's the latest greek Squadron, it was created in 2006 in order to train cadets. Moreover, its existence allows a better organization of training activities. Note that together with the 361st sqd used the same aircraft even if in different time frame on the 24 hours.

The 362nd Air Training Squadron "Nestor"

The oldest of the squadron training. Indeed, it was created in 1957 at the 112th Combat Wing with T-33 A as 361st Aircraft Training Squadron. The 362nd was then moved to 114th CW and in 1970 he reached Kalamatha. In 1974 it was renamed the 362th Advanced Training Squadron and two years later he received the T-2B / C. In 2006 it was renamed 362nd Air Training Squadron.

The 363rd Air Training Squadron "Danaos"

Created with the name of 361st Air Training Flight at the 110th CW with the F-84F, in 1974 received the new T-2B/C and shifted to Kalamatha. Following the reorganization of the 120th ATW he was renamed 363rd Air Training Squadron.

                Text by Marco Sommacal

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We would thank all the staff of the 120th Air Training Wing. Thanks, finally, to Col. Roberto Cattaneo of the Italian Embassy in Greece for made possible this day.