Why did you join Civil Air Patrol?
I initially joined because I went to a local airshow in my hometown and thought the kids in the military uniforms were the coolest. I stayed because I fell in love with the structure, tradition, and eventually the desire to be in the service.
What is your current career?
I’m a pilot flying the HC-130J.
What specific lesson/experience from CAP has influenced your career or your life?
CAP taught me to be well-rounded. You can’t just be the most knowledgeable, the best at Physical Training, or have the best-looking uniform. Those things are great and incredibly important too. But you need to be approachable, you need to learn about the people above you and below you. How to lead them, motivate them, know what makes them tick, and when to let them be. People matter. CAP and my family set that foundation for me from a very young age and I am forever grateful. It has paid dividends in my career.
What else should we know about you?
Thankfully, because of my experiences in CAP I was exposed to things like the Air Force Academy, where I graduated in 2019. I was the first person in my school to ever attend that school simply because no one knew about it back home. I’m only saying this to remind kids that if people think you’re crazy or different for doing something no one’s done before, you’re probably on the right track to do something great.
I was never the smartest, strongest, or even the most-disciplined kid at times. But I knew that I had a drive in me to prove everyone wrong. A lot of what I’ve accomplished is a result of hard work and the people who raised me and I’m so thankful. To my mom, especially. She’s been there for everything and I dedicate this to her.