Thursday, July 26, 2007

SPORTS>>Tyndall AFB pilot hits career homerun

By Senior Airman Timothy R. Capling
325th Fighter Wing Public Affairs

Tyndall AIR FORCE BASE, Fla. — A Tyndall pilot was inducted to the College Sports Information Directors of America Academic Hall of Fame, July 1, in a ceremony in San Diego.

Maj. Lance Pilch, 43rd Fighter Squadron operations officer, was honored for his performance on the baseball field while playing for the United States Air Force Academy and for his outstanding academic record while attending the Academy. He was also recognized for his multiple achievements throughout his Air Force career.

Major Pilch, a lieutenant colonel select, graduated from the Academy in 1993 with a grade-point average of 3.5, earning his bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering in the top 15 percent of his class. He also played as a center fielder on the academy’s baseball team.

His baseball career started when he was 4 years old and continued through his time at the Academy all the way to a tryout with the New York Mets.

To be eligible for the CoSIDA Academic Hall of Fame, nominees must be nominated by their alma mater’s sports information director, earn Academic All-American status during their time at the school, graduate with at least a 3.0 grade-point average, receive their diploma at least 10 years ago and have proven career success and philanthropic service.

Past winners include U.S. senators, Nobel Prize winners and professional athletes.

To earn his nomination, Major Pilch had many accreditations in his career. Some of his achievements were graduating at the top of his class for F-16 Falcon Weapons School, earning his master’s degree with high honors at the University of Michigan, helping to build the first F-16 Fighter Squadron at Cannon Air Force Base, N.M., and assisting in the development of the first F-22 Raptor squadron here.

Major Pilch has also been involved in several community service programs throughout his career including Habitat for Humanity and Focus Hope, which is a program that provides food to underprivileged people in inner-city Detroit.
He has been stationed at Tyndall since April 2003 and lives here with his wife and two daughters.

“I enjoy being an operations officer here,” he said, “I’m lucky to be in this job.”

He hasn’t been able to play organized baseball recently due to the heavy demands of his life as a fighter pilot, he said.
He said he gives the credit of this award to the support of people who helped him along his way.

“It’s the people around you who make you better,” the major said.

“The award is quite an honor for me,” he said. “But it’s really honoring everyone that helped me along the way.”

“Lieutenant Colonel (select) Pilch is one of the greatest Americans I know,” said Lt. Col. David Krumm, 43rd FS commander. “His accomplishments in the United States Air Force are legendary and he has continued that exceptional performance in the academic world.”

“He is and will continue to be one of our country’s greatest leaders, and I can’t wait to see what amazing things he’s going to do next,” Colonel Krumm said.


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