Desert Junior Senior High School student receives Air Force Junior ROTC Flight Academy scholarship

  • Published
  • By Grady Fontana
  • 412 Test Wing

An Air Force Junior ROTC student at Desert Junior Senior High School on Edwards Air Force Base, Calif., was recently selected to receive a scholarship to attend an accredited aviation university participating in a private pilot license-training program in the summer of 2021.

Cadet Nicole Warner, 17, was one of 230 Air Force Junior ROTC cadets around the world to receive the scholarship from Headquarters Air Force Junior ROTC, Maxwell Air Force Base, Montgomery, Ala.

“I found out about the scholarship at an airshow in Wisconsin with my dad a couple of summers ago,” said Warner. “We were kind of in disbelief about the scholarship and I was really excited about it.”

The scholarship covers transportation, room and board, academics and flight hours required to potentially earn a private pilot license. The scholarship is valued at approximately $22,500.

“The program takes an intensive eight weeks to complete, which can be equivalent to about a year’s worth of traditional instruction and can lead to a private pilot’s license,” said Warner.

The selectee incurs no military commitment and earns a college transcript.

“Because of the pilot shortage, one of the things the Air Force has looked at is to get more of the younger generation involved in aviation,” said retired Air Force Col. Mark Sullivan, Junior ROTC instructor, Desert JSHS, Edwards AFB. “Junior ROTC is trying to do its part by getting our high school students into some sort of aviation program. They came up with this idea of a Flight Academy.”

The Flight Academy Scholarship Program is an Air Force-level initiative in collaboration with the commercial aviation industry to address the national civilian and military pilot shortage. The Flight Academy allows aspiring young aviators to get their Private Pilot’s Certification, at no cost, during an eight-week summer course at partner universities.

More than 1340 cadets applied for one of the 230 scholarships. There are more than 120,000 high school students enrolled in Air Force Junior ROTC at almost 875 high schools in the U.S and overseas.

Those who participate in the program 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 intent of the program is to create aviators in our society,” said Sullivan. “If they go into civilian or commercial aviation, then we’re okay with that. It just means that there’s one less commercial aviation spot that may potentially take away from an Air Force active duty slot.”

The mission of Air Force Junior ROTC 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.