Andrew Deacon has spent half his life flying. He got his private pilot
license at the age of 14. Now at 28, he is taking his flying interest
|Andrew Deacon (left) and IUSB Chancellor
Una Mae Reck
Deacon, who graduated in December with a general studies degree, also received his commission in December as a second lieutenant with the U.S. Air Force, becoming the first IU South Bend graduate from the ROTC brigade.
Deacon received his commission with 50 friends and family looking on and snapping pictures.
“I’ve wanted to do this all my life. It is my future. I will do the best that I can for you. It is my dream,” he said at the end of the ceremony.
His commission was awarded just three months ahead of the cut-off point for pilot training.
As a student, he was a member of the Flying Irish combined Air Force Reserve Officer Training brigade at the University of Notre Dame. The brigade is made up of students at Notre Dame, IUSB, Bethel College, Saint Mary’s College, Holy Cross College and Valparaiso University.
Deacon served five years in the U.S. Air Force as an enlistee from 1995 to 2000, then he returned to his Granger home. However, the dream of flight and the Air Force never left him. He enrolled in general studies in 2000 and completed his course work in three years.
“My driving force was to become a pilot,” he said.
Col. Mark Gehri, commander of the Flying Irish brigade, said that Deacon was one of the best recruiters he has in the South Bend area, by introducing himself and asking others to think about joining the program.
Deacon will be stationed this spring at Vance Air Force Base in Oklahoma for a year-long training program.