The Western Wayne School District is very proud of two of its 2015 alumni who soon will serve our country in the military.
Timothy Shaffer has been attending Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University in Daytona Beach, Florida and participating in Air Force ROTC Detachment 157 for the last four years. He recently graduated as a Second Lieutenant in the United States Air Force with a Bachelor of Science Degree in Aeronautics. He earned a pilot slot in his junior year and will be stationed at Columbus Air Force Base, Mississippi, next year to begin pilot training. Upon graduation of pilot training, he intends to fly an F-35.
His former classmate Kyle Coons attended the Virginia Military Institute (VMI) for 4 years, graduating as a Second Lieutenant in the Army with a Bachelor of Arts degree in History. While at VMI, he marched in President Trump’s Inauguration Parade in Washington, DC along with the Governor of Virginia’s inaugural parade in Richmond, VA. He presented the colors at Martinsville Speedway for a NASCAR race and was part of a committee within the corps of cadets named the RDC, this group helps freshmen get accustomed to the VMI system. He will be first stationed at Fort Sill, Oklahoma for training. His first duty station will be Fort Drum, New York.
Both recent graduates credit their time at Western Wayne as one of the reasons they found success in their four years at their respective institutions.
“All of my teachers were great at Western Wayne,” Tim said. “The math and science departments in the high school especially prepared me for school. I have done really well in math and science in college.”
Kyle agrees that his time at Western Wayne helped to prepare him for his time at VMI.
“I learned leadership skills from serving as the captain of both the football team and volleyball team,” Kyle explained. “Also, my AP classes taught me good study habits.”
Tim and Kyle had different collegiate experiences but each have the same end result of being prepared and ready to enter the military in their respective branches.
Tim’s experience at Embry-Riddle allowed him to have a normal university experience of attending his classes and being involved in other on-campus school activities along with his military training three days a week. He explained how it was a very equal blend.
Kyle’s experience was different in the respect that his college experience was immersed in military training every day in various ways. He explained how the students dressed in military attire at all times while on campus along with training each day and going to their college classes.
These two, very accomplished, Western Wayne alumni have a great mutual respect for one another and are proud of each other’s college achievements. They explained how they chose to pursue becoming service men through different avenues but that they both learned so much already and feel prepared to continue their military training.
Tim feels excited to start his journey at Columbus Air Force Base this spring.
“I am really proud to be able to do what I’m doing,” Tim said. “I know a lot of other people would want to be doing it.”
He is eager to learn more about aviation and explained that the feeling he gets on a flight is incredibly exciting.
“I remember one solo flight I did in college that was special,” Tim explained. “It was right before the sun came up. I was flying from Daytona Beach south past Kennedy Space Center.”
In addition, Tim feels very excited to be able to use the skills he learned in college when he starts his pilot training for the Air Force.
“I have always had a love for aviation that I couldn’t explain,” Tim said. “I have also always been fascinated, from when I was younger, with American history and events such as Pearl Harbor.”
Kyle also is eager to begin his field artillery training at Fort Sill, Oklahoma. His first duty station will be in Fort Drum, New York. He feels he has learned a lot about leadership from his time at VMI that he will use in the future.
“VMI taught me that good leaders are confident with their decisions,” Kyle explained. “I have also learned to lead by example.”
Western Wayne, faculty, administration, and staff wish Tim and Kyle the best with their future endeavors along with thanking them for serving our country.