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Col. Billye Hutchison,14th Medical Group Commander, poses for a photo with 2nd Lt. Jon Koritz, Specialized Undergraduate Pilot Training Class 13-13 Graduate, and his mother Julianne Koritz outside of the Koritz Clinic Aug. 3. The Koritz Clinic was renamed in 2008 in honor of Maj. Thomas Koritz after he was Killed in Action during the second night of combat in Operation Desert Storm in 1991. (U.S. Air Force Photo/Sonic Johnson)
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Lieutenant follows aviation passion to Silver Wings

Posted 8/16/2013   Updated 8/16/2013 Email story   Print story


by Sonic Johnson
14th Flying Training Wing Public Affairs

8/16/2013 - COLUMBUS AIR FORCE BASE, Miss. -- Second Lt. Jon Koritz joined 23 of his Specialized Undergraduate Pilot Training classmates Aug. 16 to become the newest pilots in the United States Air Force during a formal ceremony in Kaye Auditorium here. Koritz, who shares a passion for aviation with many of his family members, is humbled to be joining the long list of military aviators, one of them his father, Maj. Tom Koritz.

Koritz' father was killed in action on the second night of combat during Operation Desert Storm in 1991 flying an F-15E Strike Eagle. At the time, his father was one of six Pilot-Physicians flying in the United States Air Force. He was survived by his wife, Julianne and three sons Tim, Jon and Scott.

"To walk across this stage, the same stage my father walked across with class 82-01 to receive his wings, is a very special moment for me and my family," Koritz said.

Koritz graduated in 2008 from East Carolina University and entered the business world with Fastenal in North Carolina. Still harboring a passion for aviation, his girlfriend, and soon to be father-in-law retired Lt. Col. Steve Lofgren, were instrumental in his pursuit and eventual acceptance to Officer Training School in 2011.

Koritz rapidly learned how small the Air Force was when reporting to Wright Patterson AFB, Ohio right after OTS for pre-flight medical screening. During his physical, Kortiz' attending physician was a Flight Surgeon in the 4th Medical Group at Seymour Johnson AFB, N.C. with his father.

Koritz was joined by his wife, mother, two brothers and other family members and friends Aug 2 when class 13-13 received their assignments. Sixteen friends and family members traveled to Columbus and witnessed firsthand Koritz' excitement when he received his assignment to the F-15E Strike Eagle.

Class 13-13 also had a distinguished keynote speaker for their graduation address. Lt. Gen. (Dr.) Tom Travis, the Air Force Surgeon General, spoke to the newly minted aviators, family and friends during the formal ceremony. Like Koritz' father, Travis is one of 11 Pilot-Physicians in the Air Force.

"This is both bittersweet and difficult," reflects Koritz' mother Julianne Koritz. "The solace of this moment is that I have never seen Jon happier... he was meant to be an Air Force aviator." She quickly added at how proud she was of his accomplishment and predicts his passion for aviation will take him far.

"I am just fortunate to have this opportunity," added Koritz. "It would have never happened without the love and support of my family and friends."

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