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Jahns Hall Dedication
The family of the late Air Force Maj. Peter Jahns, Air Force Col. Steven Parker (back), 340th Flying Training Group commander, and retired Air Force Lt. Col. JK Switzer (right) pose in front of the newly dedicated 39th Flying Training Squadron building May 17 at Joint Base San Antonio-Randolph. Jahns, a former T-38 instructor pilot, died in a crash March 19, 2003, during a routine training flight at Randolph. (Air Force photo by Richard McFadden)
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JBSA-Randolph building renamed to honor former instructor pilot

Posted 5/23/2013   Updated 5/23/2013 Email story   Print story


by Alex Salinas
Joint Base San Antonio-Randolph Public Affairs

5/23/2013 - JOINT BASE SAN ANTONIO-RANDOLPH, Texas -- Members of the Joint Base San Antonio-Randolph community gathered to honor the memory of the late Maj. Peter "Oly" Jahns during a building dedication ceremony May 17, when building 39 - home of the 39th Flying Training Squadron - was renamed "Jahns Hall."

Jahns, a reserve instructor pilot for the 100th Flying Training Squadron, which preceded the 39th FTS, died March 19, 2003, in a T-38 crash during a routine training flight.

Regina Nicks opened the ceremony by singing the national anthem, followed by an invocation from Pastor Ray Still of New Braunfels and opening remarks by Col. Steven Parker, 340th Flying Training Group commander.

"Oly excelled in everything he did," Parker said. "He was one of the guys who accomplished the mission day in and day out."

According to retired Air Force Lt. Col. JK Switzer, who was stationed with Jahns at then-Langley Air Force Base, Jahns developed an appreciation for the outdoors at a young age; he and his four siblings frequently backpacked, climbed mountains, canoed and skied during family vacations. He also discovered an early aptitude for flying.

He participated in a soaring course at a flight school in Germany during a trip to visit relatives, where at age 15, he became the school's youngest student to graduate after two weeks of instruction.

"When it came to flying, Pete was the best of the best," Switzer said. "His name was always at the top of a very short list of those who were the best."

Jahns was a distinguished graduate of the Air Force Academy in 1985, where he earned a Bachelor of Science degree in aeronautical engineering. He also completed two master's degrees, one in aeronautical engineering and the other in international relations, with a 4.0 grade-point average.

But Jahns' hidden talent was in music, excelling as a pianist and competing at the state level in high school.

Jahns' wife, Rhonda, spoke about his vibrant personality, sharing what he would announce daily before work, "I'm on my way to keep the country free."

He also loved being a father to his daughter, Allison, and son, Alex, who are now teenagers, and would write down many of the "cute and silly things" they said, Rhonda said.

Ten years after the crash, Lt. Col. Todd Ernst, a current 39th FTS instructor pilot, said he still reflects on time spent with Jahns.

"Oly was my assigned instructor pilot when I first went through pilot instructor training," he said. "I had the honor to instruct with him later when I was assigned to the 560th Flying Training Squadron and then to fly ... with his flag onboard during his missing-man formation.

"Jahns Hall allows the example of one our finest to live on for the many people who never knew Oly," Ernst said.

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