The early years of the HUBI Program were a new and exciting time for the faculty and the students and the versatility and breadth of the program at that time seemed limitless. I recall very clearly that it was a major that mixed scientific journals and poetry, biology and literature, physiology and critical thinking. We had amazing professors with fantastic, driven students who were searching for a meaningful future. I loved my time at IU and then, as I headed towards graduation, I found my future, in the air.
I began by working on my Private Pilot License after graduation. I drove the three hours to Columbus, IN nearly every day to finish the 40 hour minimum requirement in order to take the final flying test. Once completed, I began interviewing at US Air Force Reserve locations around the country and was hired by my number one choice, March Air Reserve Base in Southern California. I thought I “had it made” but it turns out that I was naïve and had no idea what I was in for. In 2014 I began Officer Training School (OTS) in Montgomery, AL. A 9 ½ week program that tests your mental toughness and integrity. Stress here is an understatement. After OTS came Undergraduate Pilot Training (UPT) in Del Rio, TX. A year and a half of studying and flying against some of the best pilots in the world. Here we master aerodynamics, physics, mechanics, and a number of skills all before even touching an airplane. Then the hard part; flying. Every day after studying, you take a plane into the air hoping you have enough of the skillset to bring it down safely. We learn basic fundamentals, combat fundamentals, expert level acrobatics, and formation. Flying an extremely powerful jet four feet from a friend of yours at 20,000 feet is a feeling most others fall short of. After a few more training environments such as Survival School (SERE), Water Survival, Evade and Escape, and Initial Qualification, totaling to 2-3 years of training, I was finally able to come back to California and begin flying the C-17 Globemaster III.
On average I am gone close to 4 days a week, but the people we meet and the missions we fly make it well worth it. Our jet is capable of carrying up to 500 million pounds into the air at a time. We can transform our cargo compartment into a temporary hospital, and I personally have moved soldiers to safer locations, transported mine-sniffing dolphins used by the Navy, delivered medical supplies and water to Haiti after the earthquake there, and have even helped premature babies still in incubators get to locations of better health care so that they may have their chance in this world.
To say it began with IU and the HUBI Program doesn’t begin to describe the gratitude I feel for the faculty. Professors with different ideas and perspectives than I understood the importance and capability we have to change this world for the better and their classes helped me to understand that as well. Enjoy your time at Indiana. Have fun being a part of the Human Biology Program. And most of all, look up.