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Soviet flying school alumnus appointed to head South Africa AF

October 01, 2012, 1:35 UTC+3
He superseded Carlos Gajano, who had joined the AF way back in the apartheid times in 1968, and had been serving there for 44 years
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PRETORIA, October 1 (Itar-Tass) — A Soviet flying school alumnus has been appointed a new commander of the Air Force (AF) of the Republic of South Africa (RSA) on Monday.

Lieutenant-General Fabian Msimang, who was previously in charge of the strategy for the development of the country's AF, has become the first Afro-American Commander-in-Chief of the RSA AF. He superseded Carlos Gajano, who had joined the AF way back in the apartheid times in 1968, and had been serving there for 44 years.

Msimang underwent training to fly Mi-8 and Mi-25 helicopters at the aviation school in Frunze (at present - Bishkek), the capital of the then Soviet republic of Kirgizia, in 1986-1991. He had a "combat practice" in the mid-1980s in Angola where he participated, as a member of the combat wing of the African National Congress, in the struggle for that country's independence.

Among graduates of the Frunze school of air pilots in different years were ex-president of Egypt Hosni Mubarak, Syria's ex-president Hafez Assad, Indian AF Commander, Air Chief Marshal Dilbagh Singh, and Mozambican AF Commander Ahmed Hussein.

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