Lincoln-Way East student completes AFJROTC Flight Academy Program
Thursday, August 16, 2018

Lincoln-Way East Junior Angelo Wilder, an Air Force Junior ROTC cadet, has completed the private pilot license training course at Kansas State University earning his private pilot license.

Wilder is one of 120 AFJROTC cadets around the world to receive the Chief of Staff of the Air Force scholarship from Headquarters AFJROTC, Air University, Maxwell Air Force Base, Montgomery, Alabama. More than 750 cadets applied for one of the 120 scholarships, valued at approximately $20,000.

Graduates of the program who earned their private pilot license do not incur a military commitment to the Air Force or other branch of service, nor does completing the program guarantee acceptance into one of the military’s commissioning programs.

The Flight Academy Scholarship Program is a new Air Force-level initiative. In collaboration with the commercial aviation industry to address the national civilian and military pilot shortage, AFJROTC has been charged by the Air Force Aircrew Crisis Task Force to bring back the “luster of aviation” to high school students and to increase diversity in aviation fields.

During Wilder’s time in the program, the trainees faced many challenges, but completing the program is something they say they will always remember.

“There is nothing in the world like flying, and if I could do the program again, I would in a heartbeat,” said Wilder. His high school AFJROTC Instructor, Lt Col John O’Connor, USAF (ret.) stated, “This Flight Academy program is such an amazing opportunity for the cadets, and Angelo showed great determination in completing this intense training program and earning his private pilot license in just seven weeks over the summer. We’re very proud of his accomplishment and hope more of our cadets will have the opportunity to follow in Angelo’s footsteps by taking advantage of this program in the future.”

Contingent on funding, this program will grow exponentially in the coming years. If financing continues, scholarships are expected grow to 250 in the summer of 2019 and 500 in the summer of 2020. There are also plans to open the program to Army, Navy, and Marine Junior ROTC programs as well as Civil Air Patrol cadets by 2020.

The application process for the summer 2019 program will begin in late September or early October.

The mission of AFJROTC is to develop citizens of character dedicated to serving their nation and community, while instilling values of citizenship, service to the United States, personal responsibility and sense of accomplishment. There are more than 120,000 high school students enrolled in AFJROTC at over 880 high schools in the U.S and overseas.

Media needing more information on the AFJROTC Flight Academy Scholarship Program can contact the Air University Public Affairs Office at maxwellmediarelations@us.af.mil.