Montgomery Smith, 2018 Alex Gilmer Flight School Scholarship Recipient
Please see the detailed email that Monty sent to us, shortly after receiving the scholarship.
July 22, 2018
Good Morning Gilmer Family and Ms. Love,
I wanted to share a quick update with you on my summer training. I spent the first 3 weeks of my summer completing Cadet Leader Development Training at West Point, the main highlight being a 10 day field training exercise. We conducted platoon- sized patrols in the woods surrounding West Point while rotating leadership positions. Immediately following that I participated in Air Assault School, where I learned about the capabilities of rotary wing aircraft, how to inspect external loads to be transported and rappelled out of a UH-60 Blackhawk. It was a great experience!
For the next two weeks I got to enjoy leave in Colorado and was able to fly 5.5 hours in a DA20 at Rocky Mountain Metropolitan Airport, using the scholarship money that was so generously awarded to me. These were the first flying lessons I have taken and I loved every bit of it! An added bonus is that my instructor is a former Doss Aviation instructor. Doss Aviation is the contractor that provides Initial Flight Training (IFT) to aspiring Air Force pilot in Pueblo Colorado. If my request for an inter-service commission from the Army to the Air Force is approved, I will attend IFT next summer. My instructor treated the lessons like we were at IFT so I have a good idea of what will be expected next summer. The DA20 is the aircraft they fly at IFT as well, so my lessons this summer were about as realistic to the real thing as you can get.
I am currently in Florida for two weeks with Air Force Special Operations. On Friday I got to ride on an AC-130 gunship sortie. Next week I will most likely get a ride in a CV-22 Osprey!
I had no idea flight training scholarships existed until I happened across the Alex Gilmer website the weekend before the application was due. To say that this scholarship has been a blessing is an understatement. I have gained a far better understanding of aviation as a whole and it has motivated me to continue to pursue my goal of becoming a military aviator, whether in the Air Force or Army. Without the scholarship I would most likely not had the opportunity to take flying lessons prior to beginning military flight training.
Thank you all so much for your support and the opportunity to carry on Alex’s legacy. It is an honor to represent the scholarship as a recipient. If I can be of any help to you or to future recipients of the scholarship, please do not hesitate to reach out. I look forward to keeping you updated on my progress throughout my final year at West Point. Again, thank you for everything.
Attached is a picture of the DA20 and myself.
We are so proud of what our scholarship recipients are accomplishing!