John was scheduled to meet with an Air Force recruiter the afternoon of September 11, 2001. That morning, his mother called him with news of the day’s attacks and hysterically begged him not to enlist. She was one of several family members who pleaded with John not to join the military. His afternoon appointment was postponed because of the day’s events, but his desire to serve only intensified. Not long afterwards, he departed for Military Entrance Processing Station (MEPS) with a passion to serve.
He served in the Air Force for eight years, including six years of active duty, along the way earning an Air Force Achievement Medal and an Air Force Outstanding Unit Award, among others. As a flight crew member, John was entrusted to fly with aircrafts carrying bodies of servicemembers who were killed in action back to the United States. He felt honored to be entrusted with such an important responsibility.
John plans to eventually pursue an advanced degree in meteorology to learn the processes of the weather. He is an active storm chaser in Mississippi as part of an effort to improve forecasting methods in the state with the highest number of tornado fatalities per capita. His ultimate plan is to gain a better understanding of the causes of severe weather to save as many lives as possible.