JACK “MILES” VENTIMIGLIA Editor | Oct 22, 2017

Warrensburg – Air Force Maj. Gen. Garrett “Gary” Harencak and University of Central Missouri President Charles Ambrose launched a national test program to advance aviation students to become Air Force officers/pilots.

Skyhaven Airport Executive Director Tony Monetti, a retired B-2 pilot at Whiteman Air Force Base, said the agreement allows UCM’s Aviation Department to nominate annually up to five seniors to apply to enter the Air Force Pilot Officer Recruiting Program.

“We were picked mainly because of our core values and the way we flight train; very disciplined,” Monetti said.

The program fast tracks graduates to compete to go to Air Force officer training school, he said

“It doesn’t get much better than that,” Monetti said Friday while walking along a taxiway at UCM’s Max B. Swisher Skyhaven Airport.

At a Skyhaven hangar, using a university training plane as a backdrop, Ambrose spoke with Harencak in front of other UCM and Air Force officials gathered with students to hear program details.

“This is all about our students today and what the Air Force can provide them,” Ambrose said.

Harencak, the Air Force Recruiting Service commander, said the service brought in 33,000 people this year and plans to improve their lives.

“Wherever I go, I talk to veterans, and I say, ‘If you served just for two years or for four years or for 40 years, do you believe that your service changed your life positively?’ And everybody raises their hand,” he said.

Addressing students – a couple in flight simulators with training instructors – Harencak said the agreement will add to the Air Force recruitment effort.

“What’s happening here is a win for America, because we need your talent, we need your diversity, we need what you have – energy, commitment, passion,” he said.

Harencak praised Monetti and others for improving UCM’s Aviation program.

“This is a program our United States Air Force wants to embrace and wants to be part of,” he said.