I’m an F15E Strike Eagle fighter pilot stationed at Elmendorf Air Force Base (AFB) in Alaska.
I’m doing exactly what I want to be doing.
Like many other fighter pilots, I wanted to do this since I was 5 or 6 years old.
So I joined the Air Force ROTC when I was in college at San Jose State University.
The ROTC program introduced me to life in the Air Force and covered all of the basics from uniform wear to officership and leadership skills.
I also did my basic training while in college.
On graduation day in 2001, I was made an officer and joined active duty.
I had been selected for pilot training, but there was a short wait until I could begin.
So, I went to Maxwell Air Force Base in Alabama and held a desk job for some time until my school slot opened up.
Then, I was sent to Sheppard AFB in Texas. This base is unique in that it conducts Euro-NATO Joint Jet Pilot Training (ENJJPT).
Students from 16 different nations train there under a number of different instructors.
I spent about 6 months in training that combined both classroom work and flying.
I started on a T-37 which is an older training jet, then moved on to a T-38 trainer jet for an additional 6 months.
When I finished the year-long training, I got my Air Force wings.
After pilot training, I went on to a few more schools. For example, I took Introduction to Fighter Fundamentals (IFF) in order to apply the skills that I learned in pilot training (how to fly an aircraft)
to tactical aviation (how to fight with the aircraft).
I also did Survival, Rescue, Evasion, Resistance, and Escape (SERE) training in Washington state. Finally, I trained to fly the F-15E at Seymour Johnson AFB in North Carolina for 9 months prior to being stationed in Alaska.
Upon completing these courses, I went to my first fighter squadron here in Alaska.
As part of an operational fighter squadron, I take part in training exercises.
We need to maintain readiness to deploy to war at any time.
We do exercises with other squadrons on base, other branches of the military, and also other air forces from around the world.
My number one job is to be a tactical aviator which can mean that I do anything from flying to working on plans to helping out in the weapons shop.
I look forward to updating my skills and flying as much as possible.
I would like to go abroad one day.
I’ve also learned to skydive for sport and have had the opportunity to train one-on-one with the Army’s Golden Knights.