If you’ve ever wondered what it was like to fly in a military jet fighter, here’s the scoop from one of the pilots of the 163rd FS Scheduling at the Indiana Air National Guard in Fort Wayne.
“There’s a joy in flying,” said Major Scott "Tug" Boatright. “I grew up around people who loved aviation. My dad flew F4’s and my brother flies F16s in Korea.”
When he was 17, Boatright enlisted with the Air National Guard with the goal of someday being a fighter pilot. He worked weekends and two-week summer camps with the Guard through college. In 2001 after receiving a Bachelor of Science Degree in Aviation, Boatright worked with the 113th fighter squadron based at the Terre Haute International Airport in Terre Haute, Indiana.
Boatright flew F16s after earning his wings in 2005. In June 2007 he transferred to the 122nd Fighter wing at the Air National Guard Base at Fort Wayne International Airport.
In 2009, when the Fort Wayne base converted to A10s, Boatright had to re-train. He liked both planes.
“The difference between an A10 and F16 is its mission,” he said. “An A10 carries bullets, bombs, and missiles and is designed to attack the enemy.”
The F16 is used for air support. “Our primary role with the F16 is to support soldiers on the ground,” said Boatright. “We often defended soldiers overseas with this plane.”
He served with the Air National Guard first in Iraq in 2007, then Afghanistan in 2011-2012.
“I know there is risk as a fighter pilot,” said Boatright. “But it is rewarding and well worth the danger.”
See more amazing men like Boatright (and enjoy these spectacular aircraft) at the Fort Wayne Air Show. Hours for the 2012 Fort Wayne Air Show:
Saturday and Sunday: Static exhibit 9:00 am - 5:00 pm, flights will be noon - 4:00 pm. Free to the public.
Fort Wayne 122nd Guard Base is located on Ferguson Road next to Fort Wayne International Airport.
Kayleen Reusser has written children’s books and had stories in Chicken Soup books. She writes features for the News-Sentinel newspaper and profiles for the Ossian Sun Riser. She loves to travel and write about her experiences at her website: www.KayleenR.com