Army Vet Following Childhood Dream, Earns Aviation Scholarship

Childhood Dreams Meet Reality

Who is Ben Bashinski?

The answer may not be a simple one and it rarely ever is. We’ll start with Ben’s childhood as it paints a clear picture of the present.

Ben often could be found in the co-pilot seat next to his father. He seemed to drift back into the memory banks when he told us, ” I don’t think there’s anything that quite tops the feeling of breaking through the clouds to fly over endless fields of cotton.”

Those flights and fields were in Augusta, Georgia where Ben was born and raised. The memories of our childhood will often frame our future. For Ben, this was the case. His dream upon joining the Army was to become a pilot. While his plans didn’t fully come to fruition, he made a difference and captures some memories along the way in the Army.

When asked about his favorite memory in the service, he again drifted in a state of memory as he explained,

I was stationed in Honduras for a year to head their tactical communications section. The most rewarding aspect of the assignment though, was the time off. Each battalion chose an orphanage to volunteer for, so you could spend a Saturday hanging out with Honduran children, playing games, reading, or donating school supplies and toys. The chaplain also planned monthly hikes where we’d walk to a remote village and donate food, and you could also volunteer at the local church to help the priests prepare dry foods for donation.

As we fast forward to today, Ben is now in the pilot seat of his new career. He and his wife have moved from Fort Bragg to Asheville, N.C. as they turn the page into a new chapter of life. He credited his ability to pursue his dreams to his wife when he said, “My wife is a saint, and she’s fully supportive of me resigning from active duty in order to pursue pilot training full-time for the next couple of years.”

He is about halfway through his initial training and told us this scholarship will help lessen the burden he and his wife will have to bear when it comes to financially supporting his dreams. Additionally, Ben mentioned it was more than just the money for him. He told us,

Perhaps even greater than the money, is the mentorship I’ll receive from pilots in the industry who will help me stay on track throughout the rest of the process. Their ability to answer questions and help me avoid any pitfalls is going to take a lot of the stress out of preparing for a new career.

We concluded our time with Ben when we asked him why he thinks veterans are a great option to help fill the pilot gap in the aviation field. His answer was spot on.

“For me, my time in the military has allowed me to experience an entirely different career for over eight years and has enabled me to figure out what I truly want to do with the rest of my life. Veterans know that to become truly great at something, it takes time, dedication, and motivation.”