Warrior of the North selected for Global Hawk pilot training
By Senior Airman Xavier Navarro, 319th Air Base Wing Public Affairs
/ Published July 20, 2016
GRAND FORKS AIR FORCE BASE, N.D. --
Not all Air Force officers are pilots, but enough are that in this day and age many don't think of enlisted members as pilots.
Until now, that is.
Master Sgt. Travis Williams, 69th Reconnaissance Group, NCO-in-charge of group standards and evaluations, is one of the 10 enlisted Airmen selected to go through the Enlisted Pilot Initial Class starting in October 2016.
"When I first joined the Air Force, I had no interest in anything aviation related," said Williams. "After about eight years in service and becoming part of the aircraft world, it has become more interesting to me. I was super excited when I got the news."
Some of the requirements Williams had to complete were a flight physical, taking a newly developed test similar to the Air Force Officer Qualifying Test and a test of basic aviation skills.
"Everyone in Grand Forks that I had to deal with to get this process done has been super helpful," said Williams, "for example Staff Sgt. Joy Sawe, 319th Medical Operations Squadron, really came through when I had a tight deadline."
Enlisted pilots will endure the same difficult Air Force training as current Remote Pilot Aircraft pilots.
"Sergeant Williams is one of my superior performers, always taking the initiative to gain the knowledge he needs for his job and passing that knowledge on to others," said Col. Christopher Larson, 69th RG commander.
"His drive and enthusiasm coupled with his eight years of experience and 1200+ flight hours made it easy for me to recommend him for the initial cadre of enlisted pilots."
Williams agreed that the operational and mission experience he brings to the table played a key role in his being selected. He mentioned he has done every job in the squadron, has flown every variant of the Global Hawk from the Block-10 to the Block-40.
"The Air Force will provide me with all the training I need and my goal is that to be the best that I can be at that," said Williams. "My second goal is to use the experience I have to make the program successful and sustainable."
He would like to thank all of the people he worked with from his leadership to all the way down to his co-workers, who all helped develop his skills and professionalism. Williams plans to be able to come back to his squadron and work with his fellow operators, but this time in the pilot's seat.