Meet the Filipino who graduates with honors at US Air Force Academy
COLORADO - Growing up in the fringes of the Dipolog city airport, Theodore Karl Quijano was bitten early by the lure of flight and that has taken him all the way to Colorado, where he graduates next week from the US Air Force Academy.
With the cost of college proving too much of a burden on his family, Quijano decided to apply at the Philippine Military Academy in Baguio City, and later saw the opportunity to fulfill his childhood dream by competing for a slot in the USAFA.
“I grew up right next to the airport,” he revealed. “I saw planes land and take off every day and the sight made me dream to be able to fly those aircraft one day.”
He not only learned to fly, he soared in the Academy, achieving feats that should make Filipinos proud – he was given command of Cadet Squadron 10 last Fall after being assigned as Cadet Wing Chief of Standardization and Evaluation, said to be one of the highest positions in the Academy managing over 4,000 people, during the Summer. A year earlier, he was also made Superintendent of CS-10.
“God, family and country – it was clear to me that I was doing this for them, not for myself,” Quijano said. “I wanted to work for something bigger than myself. This made me stand out in the Academy and drove others to have the same outlook.”
As part of the graduating class of 2013, he marches with honors at Falcon Field next Wednesday. He belongs to the Superintendent’s (overall excellence) and Dean’s (academic excellence) list. Quijano will also receive the Outstanding Basic Cadet Award from the Academy’s Commandant for finishing 1st in the class of 1,300 cadets for military excellence.
In addition he will get his Parachutist Badge, Space Wings (for completing the space operations program that taught him, among others, how to operate satellites), Glider Pilot Wings and the Powered Flight Wings.
Quijano ranked 2nd in athletics for his batch and is the only Filipino cadet (out of 15 who preceded him in the USAFA since 1956) to get a perfect physical fitness score in the Academy’s 500 Club.
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