A Veterans Flight Training Experience

December 1, 2016, was the day I had the pleasure and honor to join the military and swear an oath to protect our country. I chose to be a chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear specialist. In other words, I helped protect, detect and decontaminate against chemical and biological warfare, in addition to radiation and nuclear warfare. This job is very tedious and requires a lot of studying and hands-on training. In training, we learned about hazardous material and the proper way to transport and handle in the event of a spill.

In 2017, I decided to pursue becoming a pilot, after enjoying my time as a flight attendant for Republic Airways. I researched flight schools and colleges and compared countless curriculums to try to figure out what would be the best route for me to achieve my goal and become an airline pilot.

I decided to take the year to put in as much time and work as a flight attendant and save up money in 2018. I didn’t give up on being a pilot, but it seemed to be unrealistic in that moment. The military actually does have education benefits, but as a reservist, what you qualify for is limited unless you have a certain number of active-duty days or are deployed. I did not qualify for either of these.

I finally began to investigate LIFT Academy and chose to attend in 2019. At the time, as an employee of Republic Airways, I felt that LIFT was the best fit for me financially. I found that when I first started training, I was really overwhelmed. I had to find a routine to balance school, work and military. Luckily for me, I found that LIFT is extremely understanding with my ever-changing military obligation. I genuinely feel like the instructors and management at LIFT have the students’ best interest at heart. Whenever I have needed additional help and study time to feel comfortable with specific content, I am able to get any extra help and time I ask for and know that this support is exactly what I need to be a successful pilot. I don’t have my private pilot license yet, but there’s no doubt in my mind I will be triumphant!

I have to put in a ton of extra studying hours to stay on top of the material. When I’m away for my military duty, I work all day. I take advantage of my time at night to go over some notes and study material. I always bring material with me when I’m away, so I can ensure it stays fresh in my mind when I am away. Keeping up with everything can be stressful at times, so I’ve started to take time to focus on my mental health. I make sure that I set aside some time to meditate and do yoga to get my mind right to stay focused on my end goal.

If the military has taught me anything, it’s to be prepared for the unexpected and adapt and overcome. No matter what, I am not powerless. My resilience will help me persevere and be the best version of myself. I look forward to the day when I walk on the plane and am greeted with “Welcome aboard, Captain.”