Local soldier realizes dream of flight school

Wanda English Burnett

After serving nearly a year in Iraq, Spc. Brandon Gardner was about to settle into college life at Indiana State University, when duty called again.

A phone call and a letter to confirm he had been chosen for Warrant Officer Candidate and Flight School, was just what Gardner had wanted all along, because this will lead him to his ultimate goal - flying aircraft for the military.

The local soldier’s father, Ray Gardner, told the Osgood Journal it has been his son’s life-long dream to be a pilot in the military. “Actually, he’s been flying since he was really young, about seven or eight years old,” Ray said. He also noted that his son received his pilot license between his junior and senior years of high school. He graduated in 2006 from South Ripley High School.

Ray also noted that his son had been trying to get into the flight school for the military for about three years. “He was really excited when he got the news,” Ray told the Osgood Journal. He admitted he was equally excited for his son, who he has been told “is a natural at aviation.” He said he had many emotions, happy, excited and relieved, because he knows how much this means to his son.

“The day he graduated from high school, he wanted to go into the flight program,” Ray noted, encouraging other young people to look into the military as a possible option for careers. Spc. Brandon agreed saying, “The military is a positive experience for a small-town boy. You meet people from all over the world...and it makes you mature faster.”
Spc. Gardner served in Kuwait and Iraq as a member of Delta Company 2-238th GSAB (General Support Aviation Battalion) as an aircraft mechanic with the Indiana National Guard. He told the Osgood Journal in an earlier interview that it was his goal to fly the Blackhawks that he worked on at that time. Now, his dad says that dream will be realized.

The local young pilot will be launching a new endeavor, one he’s looking forward to when he heads to Fort Rucker, Alabama for flight school on March 18.
Spc. Gardner is the son of Ray and Robin Gardner of Friendship.

Brandon Gardner