SUCCESS STORIES Johnny Montgomery

Making My Dreams Take Flight

by Johnny Montgomery

A blast of air, the ground trembled beneath me–I squinted up into the gleaming sun, shielding my eyes from the reflection of light rays against metal. There it was–the soaring vessel, her wings spanning broad against the horizon. It was at that moment I wanted nothing more than to be up there, flying my own. I watched as my dream took flight before me.

I grew up in an Air Force family that attended air shows the same way southern families attend church on Sundays. Flying runs in my blood; I am the product of a generation of surveyors of the sky.

Even before my first flight as a kid, I had an unquestionable love for flying rooted deep within me. There’s an incomparable thrill I get when I take off from the runway, the world disappearing behind me in a blur of motion and color. I live for that rush– the same rush I get when I ride my motorcycle, another passion of mine.

I’m proud to say that I’m the only 17-year-old at Stanhope Elmore High School who can pilot a plane, but piloting is not my only hobby. I am very active in a great number of clubs including JROTC, Junior Civitian, Beta Club, Spanish club, Senior Council, and Mu Alpha Theta. I also had the chance to attend the 2017 Alabama Boys State at the University of Alabama. I’m the starting quarterback for my school’s varsity football team and am Battalion Commander for my JROTC Unit. I’ve made a name for myself in this place, but with graduation around the corner, I’m ready to begin a new chapter of my life.

My hope is to attend the US Air Force Academy and major in Aeronautical Engineering after high school. One day I want to be a fighter pilot in the Air Force and walk in the footsteps of my family members. There is a legacy of courageous men and women who have flown before me, and I hope to remain in the same line of courage and excellence. I have big shoes to fill, but thankfully, I’ve been mentored along my journey, continually being supported by those generous enough to share their wisdom and experience with me.

As the second recipient of the Red Tails Foundation, I have been blessed with the opportunity to pursue a passion that has been passed down generationally through my bloodline. I’m young and my journey has just begun, but I am only where I am now because of the pioneering bravery of those who have carved out a path before me. I hope to one day bless others by mentoring them in the same way I’ve been poured into.