Thunderbird Field II Veterans Memorial, Inc. has awarded an aviation scholarship to a Cochise College student, Michael Barragan, pursuing an associate of professional pilot technology degree.
TB2 is a non-profit 501(c)(3) organization for preserving the history of aviation in Scottsdale, honoring all military veterans and creating educational opportunities for Arizona students studying all aspects of aviation, according to a press release.
Mr. Barragan, described the release, served in the U. S. Air Force after high school, earning the rank of Senior Airman E-4 and Crew Chief for the A-10 Thunderbolt that is also known as Warthog.
His last active duty station assignment was at Davis Monthan Air Force Base, the release said, noting his interest to become an A-10 pilot and a commercial airline pilot. With a full class load and an impressive grade point average, he continues to serve the USAF in the active Reserve.
“Michael is the first Cochise College recipient of the TB2 Aviation Scholarship. Michael’s dedication to his studies, aviation and the USAF exemplifies his worthiness of this prestigious honor,” said TB2 Chairman/President Steve Ziomekin a prepared statement.
“It is a privilege to announce, in concert with our president, board of directors, and donors/sponsors, that Michael is our sixth Aviation Scholarship recipient in the past 10 months. We anticipate announcing our next scholarship honoree selection within the next two months. As a former member of the military, I am extremely proud of the praiseworthy qualities Michael has displayed and his commitment to his country,” said Rudy R. Miller, chairman of TB2’s advisory board and scholarship committee, in a prepared statement.
Mr. Barragan’s TB2’s scholarship award, sponsored by Systems Integrated Plus, Inc., was represented by Gunnar Buzzard, the chief executive officer/president, who is a former U.S. Navy and USAF pilot plus a member of TB2 Board of Directors; and Pat Riordan, chief operating officer-vice president.
SIP has supported charity and community service organizations in the Valley for over 20 years, the release noted of the organization headquartered in Scottsdale, which designs, builds and deploys computer, electronic and radar systems for the defense, aerospace, heavy industrial and research markets.
During World War II, an airfield named Thunderbird Field II was built for training U.S. Army Air Corps pilots in 1942. Thunderbird Field II graduated over 5,500 men and women pilots, many of whom saw military action in Europe and the Pacific, noted the release.
The field and school were deactivated on Oct. 16, 1944, sold to Arizona State Teachers College, then to the Arizona Conference of Seventh-day Adventists, and finally to the city of Scottsdale in 1966, said the release of how the cite became known as Scottsdale Airport.
The Aviation Scholarship Program provides scholarships to veteran and non-veteran Arizona resident students who meet specific criteria and are attending Arizona State University, Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, Chandler-Gilbert Community College, Cochise College, Pima Community College or Yavapai College.
At the entrance of the Scottsdale Airport, the release said, TB2 has a permanent memorial honoring the service men and women of the nation’s five armed services as well as POW-MIAs.
Visit tbird2.org and vme.com for more information.