E-3 (AWACS) Pilot & Wing Executive Officer
Where did you see your career going when you were a cadet?
I knew I wanted to fly, but I didn’t know what.
Has it followed that path? How or how not?
I was fortunate to be stationed at Hill AFB for seven months when I first went on active duty. I loved the people there and it gave me some insight to what fighter pilot life would be like. As I went through flight school at Columbus AFB, MS, I took a great love of the navigation and was not as captivated by aerobatics. This helped shape my choice to go the heavy route. At assignment night, I chose to be a T-1 FAIP (First Assignment Instructor Pilot). Bottom line, I wanted the instructor experience/hours in case the Air Force ever decided they were done with me. These hours would make me attractive to commercial airlines. After being a T-1 IP, I was blessed to go to AWACS where life picked up. While there, I became an Instructor again, quickly followed by selection as an Evaluator Pilot. The last 22 months I spent as Wing Exec, with the last six of those as a deployed Wing Exec. I didn’t see my career going this path, as I think I am now on path 20. I have learned rank is not about power, but about the ability to go and remove obstacles for the young troops with the ideas to move this Air Force forward. I am about to PCS to School at Fort Leavenworth where I will be for a year before heading off to staff.
What do you like most about it?
I have enjoyed every minute of it, as the people I work with and get to meet are what make it awesome.
What do you like least about it?
It will be different to not be an active pilot, as I won’t have that chance for about 3-4 years, but I recognize this is a great opportunity to continue learning.
How did ROTC prepare you for your job now?
As for ROTC, I was a mix-breed of Air Force Academy and ROTC. Both taught me lessons about being a leader, but at BYU, it was nice to see the balance between family and career. It is not always easy Active Duty, as there are many requirements of our time, which means sacrifices our family makes.
What advice do you have for future/current cadets as they pursue careers in the military?
If I could tell the cadets anything, it would be to enjoy the moments you are with your family. Make memories every chance you get because the Air Force will come calling and you will need to answer. The other thing I would tell them is to forget about taking care of your career, but always look to help those around you achieve their dreams. The greatest leaders are great not because they focus on themselves, but because they are the epitome of servant leaders. If anyone should understand this, it should be BYU ROTC grads.
Best wishes to the new bunch of leaders. Let me know if there is anything I can do. I don’t know if I will be that direction anytime soon during the school year, but I am happy to answer any questions out there. Knowledge is power in the Air Force and I desire for our Airmen to find the job that makes them happy.
Anything else you’d like to add?
The last thing I would add is a blurb about the photos. One is with the Vice President when he came out here to my deployed location. Being the Wing Exec allowed me the opportunity to be in the front row to shake his hand. The second photo is when we went out to the Harry S. Truman. I was able to be on a plane doing a carrier landing and takeoff. I would have never thought I would ever be there; it is something not many people get to experience in life. This is what makes my job so much fun. It is why I continue to serve, because I get to meet people at all levels and all have an incredible story.