With 2021 marking the 20th anniversary of the 9/11 terror attacks that claimed the lives of thousands of Americans, many servicemen who joined the military at that time have since retired from active duty. For members of the Naval Special Warfare (SEALS) corps, that equates to approximately 200 per year.
To help them find new opportunities as they transition to civilian life, Dallas-area FBO American Aero FTW has provided more than $133,000 financial support to the Navy SEAL Foundation (NSF) since 2013 through a scholarship fund that is used to help SEALs and Special Warfare Combatant-Craft (SWCC) crewmen who are seeking pilot certification. This year’s donation tallied $17,494.
“It is a privilege to create new opportunities for those who so honorably and courageously serve our country, particularly those who enlisted after the events of 9/11 and have put their lives on the line for nearly two decades,” said FBO founder Robert Bass. “With this scholarship fund, the American Aero team expresses its gratitude to those heroes as they consider what they would like to do next and welcomes them to join us in our love of private aviation.”
The scholarships have assisted both veteran and active-duty SEALs in acquiring flight training and licensing, covering related expenses for commercial pilot, instrument rating, rotorcraft-helicopter private pilot, and rotary-wing pilot add-on certifications, as well as other training and flight simulator costs. Last year, the FBO and its customers funded four such scholarships, part of $1.8 million in funds NSF disbursed to qualified applicants.
“Since American Aero FTW’s founding in 2012, they have remained committed in their support of our nation’s military members, including our SEALs, by not only hiring veterans but by making significant contributions to organizations like NSF in support of meaningful programs,” said foundation CEO Robin King. “For many of our SEALs, the operational tempo of back-to-back combat deployments paired with extensive training has meant they could not invest the time to pursue a degree, licensure, or certification. Because of the support of American Aero FTW, SEALs seeking assistance for flight training or pilot’s licensure can rest easy knowing NSF is here to help.”