Rickenbacker ANGB hosts Jake Sprowl as Pilot for a Day

  • Published
  • By Airman Ashley Williams
  • 121st Air Refueling Wing
The 121st Air Refueling Wing hosted Jake Sprowl, a 12-year-old from Springfield, Ohio, as Pilot for a Day Aug. 12, 2015 at Rickenbacker Air National Guard Base, Ohio.

The Pilot for a Day program offers youth, with chronic or life threatening illnesses, the opportunity to spend time with Airmen and enjoy a day of military experiences.

"It was an honor to swear in Jake as our pilot for the day," said Col. Douglas Pennington, commander of the 121st Operations Group. "It was great to see his face light up as he stood on stage and took the "oath of fun" in front of everyone. You could see that he was ready take on his role as pilot for the day and we were excited to have him here."

Sprowl, who suffers from Asperger and Tourette Syndrome, spent the day touring the base and learning about the missions of various squadrons.

The day included a pre-flight briefing, a tour of a KC-135R Stratotanker, a visit to the fire department and a ride in a fire truck, a brief about emergency management procedures and a look at the equipment they use, and time spent in the security forces squadron.

"Having the opportunity to spend the day with Jake was a reward," said Tech. Sgt. Mark Perkins, a boom operator with the 121st ARW. "We often forget how fortunate we are to do what we do every day, so to see Jake come in and be so excited about our jobs made it a fun day for everyone."

Sprowl also enjoyed a lunch with the Airmen, in a tanker static display inside a hangar.

"The Pilot for a Day program for Jake and our family meant that Jake got to feel normal and be included in everything," said Crystal Sprowl, mother of Jake. "His hearing and other disabilities were not held against him. He felt like he fit in even though he isn't technically an Airman."