Sacramento State alumnus Lt. Jeffrey Jordan is literally poised for takeoff.
After receiving his wings in mid-May upon successful completion of more than a year of rigorous pilot training at Columbus Air Force Base, Miss., Jordan reported to Altus Air Force Base, Okla., in mid-September. He will spend three months there learning to pilot the plane of his choice, the C-17 Globemaster III, the aircraft that recently spearheaded rescue missions in Iraq. He then will be assigned to the Air Mobility Command at Charleston Air Force Base, S.C.
Jordan, who graduated from Sac State in May 2012 with a bachelor's degree in business, was commissioned as an Air Force second lieutenant the following month. After preliminary flight school in Colorado Springs, he completed advanced pilot training and received an award for exhibiting "the most leadership in the class." The award indicated that Jordan "has the biggest impact on the overall professionalism, attitude and demeanor" of the class as a whole.
Jordan considers that intensive training to be "one of the most memorable experiences I'll ever have, and I made not just friends, but brothers in the guys I graduated with. I have over 250 flying hours and my commercial pilot's license. I'm thankful for the support that Sac State has shown me since my graduation. The University has played a huge role in me getting to this point in life, especially the Air Force ROTC department, and I'll forever be grateful."
His making it this far is no small achievement in light of the washout rate in basic flight training, which can exceed 30 percent. "Pilot training has definitely been the longest and hardest thing I've experienced thus far, which makes graduating worth so much. To compare it to college, imagine studying for finals for a year and a half straight. That's what my life has consisted of until I received my wings," he says.
Jordan's journey from Air Force staff sergeant to Sacramento State graduate is a story in itself, an inspiring chronicle of hard work and a steadfast determination to earn a college degree. The fifth of seven children, Jordan grew up in Syracuse, N.Y. His father, an Air Force veteran, took a job just outside Atlanta, where Jordan completed high school. "I went through the Army JROTC program and joined the Air Force after graduation," he says.
Upon completing basic training at Lackland Air Force Base in San Antonio, Jordan was sent to Keesler Air Force Base in Mississippi for additional training. From there, he was ordered back to the Air Education Training Command at Randolph Air Force Base, Texas, for five years before departing the South for Travis Air Force Base. "I was glad to leave the heat," Jordan says.
He was even more exhilarated to be recommended for a scholarship by his commanding officer at Travis. The prestigious Scholarship for Outstanding Airman to ROTC, a scholarship given only to a select few in the Air Force, prompted Jordan's release from active duty in 2007 to get his degree at Sacramento State. It provided up to $18,000 per year for tuition and fees, an annual $900 textbook allowance and a monthly nontaxable stipend of $250 to $500.
Jordan's former commander is currently stationed in Hawaii and came to Sacramento for the commissioning ceremony to administer the oath. Celebrants also included Jordan's younger sister and brother, who are active-duty Air Force, and Sac State's Veterans Success Center director, Jeff Weston, whom Jordan praises for helping him make the successful transition from active duty to academia.
Lt. Jeffrey Jordan is committed to serving his country all the way through to retirement from the Air Force and then putting his business major to good use in a second career, perhaps in the airline industry. - Alan MillerLast Updated: October 2014