Scottsdale, AZ (November 14, 2019) – Thunderbird Field II Veterans Memorial, Inc. (“Tbird2“) a non-profit 501(c)(3) dedicated to preserving the history of aviation in Scottsdale, Arizona, honoring all military veterans and creating unique educational opportunities in aviation for young students, today announced it awarded the first Tbird2 Aviation Scholarship to Arizona State University, Ira A. Fulton Schools of Engineering, student Megan Whittard.
The Scottsdale Airport, a vital part of Scottsdale, is a cornerstone of its development and progress. During World War II, the airfield, built for the sole purpose of training U.S. Army Air Corp pilots in 1942, was known as Thunderbird Field II. Thunderbird Field II graduated over 5,500 men and women pilots of who many saw military action in Europe and the Pacific. The field and school were deactivated on October 16, 1944, sold to Arizona State Teachers College (ASU), then to the Arizona Conference of Seventh Day Adventists, and finally to the City of Scottsdale in 1966.
Megan Whittard started her flight training in high school where she earned her private pilot certification. At ASU, Megan continued her flight training and earned her Bachelor of Science in Aeronautical Management Technology. She is continuing her education with the 4+1 program to earn her Masters in Aviation Management and Human Factors. Once she graduates with both degrees and totals enough hours, she is planning on working for a regional and then a major airline. With her Masters, she is set to enter into a flight operations management position, such as Chief Pilot.
Marc O’Brien, Program Chair of Aeronautical Management Technology, Chief Ground Instructor, and Senior Lecturer, ASU, Ira A. Fulton Schools of Engineering, said, “Megan was a student in several aviation classes I’ve taught at ASU. She is an exceptional scholar and a highly skilled pilot. Megan is truly a role model for women pursuing careers in aviation.”
Steve Ziomek, Chairman and President of Tbird2, stated, “Megan is an outstanding example of what a student’s interest in aviation can accomplish. Along with her studies and keeping a 4.0 GPA, Megan also works as a Certified Flight Instructor teaching other new students how to fly while she builds her hours of flying time. We are extremely proud to present her with our first aviation scholarship and I, as a pilot myself, look forward to following her advancement within the aviation industry.”
Rudy R. Miller, Chairman of Tbird2’s Advisory Board and Scholarship Committee, commented, “It is a privilege leading the development of the Tbird2 – Arizona Aviation Scholarship Program and I appreciate the Board of Directors’ support of this important project. Over the past year, we have selected six colleges in our state, who offer aviation curriculum, to receive Tbird2 scholarship funds for specific scholarship recipients. The colleges screen and select the qualified candidates who meet Tbird2 criteria – which includes a separate component for veterans.”
Miller continued, “It was an honor to be Co-Presenter with Steve Ziomek, of our initial scholarship award to Megan Whittard at a ceremony held at Thunderbird Field II Veterans Memorial, Scottsdale Airport. Tbird2 is aggressively moving forward with its aviation industry student educational programs with schools and other various youth organizations. We are scheduled to present at least six aviation scholarships in the coming year 2020.”
To honor Megan Whittard as the first Tbird2 Aviation Scholarship recipient, Tbird2 hosted a luncheon, sponsored by The Amazing Flameless Candle, represented by Colin LaBerge, CEO, with keynote speaker, W. J. “Jim” Lane, City of Scottsdale Mayor. Other attendees included representatives of Arizona State University, Ira A. Fulton Schools of Engineering, Tbird2 board members, and other special guests.
About Thunderbird Field II Veterans Memorial, Inc.
Thunderbird Field II Veterans Memorial, Inc. is a non-profit organization 501(c)(3) aimed at preserving the history and culture of aviation in Scottsdale, Arizona, providing a tribute to veterans, creating unique educational opportunities for children, and scholarship opportunities for Arizona students studying all aspects of aviation. 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 and Yavapai College. Tbird2 has a permanent memorial at the entrance of the Scottsdale Airport, honoring the service men and women of the nation’s five armed services: Army, Navy, Marine Corps, Coast Guard, and Air Force, as well as POW-MIAs. For more information, please visit www.tbird2.org.