“Judgement”

When we graded UPT (Undergraduate Pilot Training) students after a ride there was always a block called “Judgement” on the grade sheet ‘Judgement’ was a graded item in all the different phases of training: contact, formation, nav and instruments. The grades we assessed at the time were Excellent, Good, Fair and Unsat.

Usually ‘Judgement’ was a subjective grade based upon the IP’s overall feeling of how the ride went; unless something exceptional stood out, good or bad.

I recently became reacquainted with a former Vance T-38 IP. We served together briefly in 1978, maybe 4 months overlap. I vaguely remember him and now, after talking with him a bit last weekend, wish I had known him better.

As we talked he told me how he approached ‘Judgement.’ Apparently he never gave a student an Excellent on ‘Judgement’ on a ride, regardless of how well it went. Occasionally he was questioned about it, but he never relented. Then he went on to tell me that on graduation day he would meet with his students before they ‘walked across the stage’ to receive there wings. It was then that he gave them a set of Air Force Wings, with the word “Judgement” inscribed on the back of the Wings. He said that often by the time the student reached the Wing Commander to receive his wings, he would have tears in his eyes.

I wish I had thought of that…

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