The first for the 4th

Col Jeannie Leavitt

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CMYK The Goldsboro News-Argus 2012 Progress Edition Looking back. Leaping forward. Military The next generation of leaders: High School ROTC An aspiring pilot, maintainer and chaplain Eastern Wayne One is an aspiring fighter pilot. Another wants to work on combat helicopters. There's even a future chaplain in the bunch. But three standout members of the Eastern Wayne High School ROTC have two things in com- mon: a desire to serve their coun- try and a passion for the military. Andrew Scott said ROTC was, at first, a way to stay out of trouble. "My mom made me do it," he said with a smile. But when he started climbing the ranks, a sense of self-worth turned his focus to a future in the Army. "It's like a whole other world," the 18-year-old said. "Something just told me, if I do this, it will help me in the long run." ROTC was an escape for Nicholas Cunningham, too. But the high school senior had another motivation to join the Those who paved the way: 1F Celebrating where we have been and what we have accomplished, while setting Wayne County's course for the future. See FUTURE,Page 3F Photo submitted Jeannie Leavitt — not long after she was named the Air Force's first female fighter pilot — poses in front of an aircraft.Now a colonel,she is set to break another barrier,as she is expected to,in a few months,become the first-ever female to lead Seymour Johnson Air Force Base's storied 4th Fighter Wing. Danny Johnson Operation Desert Storm veteran He was a Navy Seabee during the Vietnam War — a job that took him to Puerto Rico and a deserted island in the Indian Ocean. He joined the Army National Guard in 1985 — and found himself, consequently, in Saudi Arabia sup- porting Operation Desert Storm. For Danny Johnson, a man who has lived in Wayne County as long as he can remember, the desire to serve has never faded. The first for the 4th "I've just always had ... this inner itch to give back some more," he said. Maybe that's why he belongs to so many veterans organizations — American Legion Post 11, Veterans of Foreign Wars and the Wayne County Veterans and Patriots Coalition, to name a few. "I'm about doing what I can while I'm still here," he said. It's a mantra he has carried with him always. Serving his country, for John- son, was never really a choice. It was a calling. "I've never been anything but 100 percent American," he said. "Serv- ing is just something I had to do." GREEN BADGE OF COURAGE Goldsboro's Interim Police Chief Jeff Stewart's career of service started with the Green Berets. PAGE 2F S Col. Jeannie Leavitt did not start out wanting to be a role model. But that's what happens when you are 'first.' And now, the Air Force's first female fighter pilot will become its first female 4th Fighter Wing commander. he wasn't out to prove a point. ing the status quo. She was, quite simply, a dreamer — a grown-up version of the little girl who walked hand in hand with her father at an air show, looked skyward and fell in love with flight. So when the Air Force asked Her sights weren't set on challeng- INSIDE WHAT ANYONE WOULD DO World War II veteran Owen Lavelle Starling doesn't consider himself a hero. PAGE 4F KENNETH FINE Story by female fighter pilot — she strug- gled with the notion that doing so would, in many ways, turn the focus of a nation on her. "I was a little shy Jeannie Leavitt to break a barri- er — to become its first-ever from the publicity," she said. "But the Public Affairs folks were very articulate about explaining that this was a good news story. This was a story that we needed to get out to the American public." And she needed to get into the See LEAVITT,Page 2F "I do very much value the role I've had as a role model — to make sure girls see that they have those opportunities, that women see that they have those opportunities. You know, my mom and dad always told me, 'You can do whatever you want.' That's something that has always stuck with me." Soon-to-be commander of the 4th Fighter Wing COL. JEANNIE LEAVITT the future

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