Air Force Pilot
name: Jonathan Gill
hometown: Milton, GA
I am currently an F-16 pilot for the United States Air Force. I was a mechanic for almost six years in the guard while I was in college and in that time, I never lost focus of why I was there. I was able to build a reputation and network within the unit. After graduation, I was able to apply and got the job on my first interview. The hiring commander at the time knew I was hardworking and determined. I was then given the chance to be a F-16 pilot.
My parents’ names are Mike and Cherie Gill. Neither of my parents came from traditional college educations but have both been extremely successful in their lives. They are probably the most impactful individuals in my life because they encourage me to follow my passions. I attribute most of my success to my family’s supportiveness which has allowed me to go out into the world and chase my dreams even with the threat of failure.
I attended Auburn University and majored in Aerospace Engineering. When I first went to college, I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do. I just knew I wanted to do something with airplanes which is what drove me to choose Aerospace Engineering, and soon after, I decided I wanted to be an F-16 pilot. I sat down with a pilot from the 187th Fighter Wing and asked him what it was like to be a pilot and what he thought was the best way for me to become one. He encouraged me to enlist in the Alabama Air National Guard as an aircraft mechanic. Even though being a mechanic wasn’t what I wanted to do for the rest of my career, I can honestly say that I wouldn’t be where I am today if I wasn’t one.
My father is by every definition of the term “a self-made man”. He didn’t come from a traditional college education but has found a way to provide an excellent life for himself and my family. The most important thing my father taught me is the value of hard work and determination. If you are willing to put in the work for the things you want in life, there is absolutely no limit on how successful you can be.
Not having the appropriate school/social life balance. College is a lot of fun but sometimes you can forget why you are actually there. Knowing when to let loose and knowing when it’s time to buckle down and get serious is a very big key in having a successful college career.
advice for teens:
If you have an idea of what you want to do, come up with a plan on how to achieve it. It could be something that takes one year or ten years. It could have five steps or fifty steps but think of a way to make that goal a reality and start moving forward. After that, tell someone who will hold you accountable to your plan so that when you get down and lack the motivation to keep pursuing your dream, you have someone to lean on that will help encourage you.
Top 3 favorite things to do outside of work:
- Spending the day on the lake
Best advice you’ve ever been given:
“Ain’t no to it, but to do it.”