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U-2 pilots visit Scott to recruit new pilots
Maj. Eric, a pilot in the 1st Reconnaissance Squadron, packs away luggage under the plane at Scott Air Force Base, Ill., in order to prepare the T-38 Talon for flight to McConnell AFB, Kans., Dec. 05, 2012, to do a recruiting presentation. Beale AFB, Calif., is looking for officers with professionalism and flying skills necessary to pilot the U-2 "Dragonlady." (U.S. Air Force photo/Staff Sgt. Maria Bowman)
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U-2 Pilots visit Scott in hopes of recruiting future pilots

Posted 12/11/2012   Updated 12/11/2012 Email story   Print story

    


by Staff Sgt. Maria Bowman
375th Air Mobility Wing Public Affairs


12/11/2012 - SCOTT AIR FORCE BASE, Il. -- The Air Force is searching for officers to pilot the U-2 "Dragon Lady," a reconnaissance aircraft that provides critical high-altitude intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance to the nation's decision makers.

Lt. Col. Stephen Rodriguez, 1st Reconnaissance Squadron commander at Beale Air Force Base, and Maj. "Eric" a pilot with the 1st RS, gave a recruiting presentation at the base theater Dec. 5 to inform interested pilots on how the U-2 program works, and how to apply for the position.

During the presentation, Rodriguez and Eric talked about the history of the U-2, the expansion of the program to the year 2025, training requirements, and why the U-2 program would be something to pursue.

"The U-2 is unique--it's a single-pilot mission," Rodriguez said. "It's very challenging for an aviator. The mission is never routine."
Pilots interested in flying the U-2 should start the application a year before they are going to PCS.

"We'll interview the pilot at six months out, and we would bring him/her out during their PCS time," Rodriguez said.

Pilots, who meet the requirements, should put together a paper package, which includes all their officer performance reports, a wing commander endorsement letter, and a statement of intent.

"Once the pilot submits the paper package, we look at it," the commander stated. "We'll call him/her if we feel the pilot would make a good candidate, and then the person goes through a two-week interview process."

"We are looking for mature, experienced pilots who show a good degree of Airmanship and who are also good officers," said Rodriguez, who has 19 years of flying experience.
Rodriguez added that the wing has a limited number of U-2 pilot openings.

"We will produce up to 24 pilots a year. Typically we look for captains all the way up to young lieutenant colonels. Some first lieutenants actually qualify."

The presentation provided useful information to the pilots who attended.

"I thought the presentation was outstanding," 1st Lt. Aleksey Tyabus, a C-21 pilot at Scott, stated. "They answered a ton of questions for everyone there. "They were clear about the U-2's mission and how important the U-2 is in the fight. Their presentation gave all the information needed to make an informed decision on choosing whether or not this is the aircraft and lifestyle for me. This was a big motivational boost, and I guarantee that my application will be going to the U-2 program very soon."

For more information on the application requirements, visit www.beale.af.mil or call (530) 634-4447.

Application instructions are located on Beale Air Force Base's website, said Rodriguez.



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