With a name like Maverick, it seems Lt. Maverick Lewis has been destined for a life in the sky. "I am a pilot so yeah, I catch a lot of heat for that," he says.
He says his name, made famous by an 80s flick about fighter pilots, gets him a fair share of teasing but helped set him on a course toward flight.
On Thursday, Lewis graduated the B-52 Initial Qualification Course at Barksdale alongside about 20 other Airmen. All are ready to fly, navigate and defend the largest planes around.
"It's been awesome, it's been a rollercoaster ride," says Lt. Ryan Brookins, who's an electronic warfare officer with air force in his blood.
"My granddad flew in World War 2, my dad served in Vietnam. I wanted to join the Air Force and make an adventure of my life and I haven't been disappointed yet."
Brookins and Lewis will join the same squadron once training's over. Captain Jason McCargar, who's completing his second trip through training, will head back to the skies after spending several years on land looking up, "It's great to be back. Seeing it from the ground side is cool, I learned a lot but i joined the air force to fly."
Officials say four classes of airmen graduate from the B-52 Formal Training Unit every year, that's between 80 and 100 people.