Thunderbird Field II Veterans Memorial, Inc. awards 1st aviation scholarship


Thunderbird Field II Veterans Memorial, Inc. recently awarded the first TB2 Aviation Scholarship to Arizona State University, Ira A. Fulton Schools of Engineering student Megan Whittard.

Ms. Whittard started her flight training in high school where she earned her private pilot certification, where she continued her flight training, earned her bachelor of science in aeronautical management technology; and continued with the 4+1 program to earn her masters in aviation management and human factors.

Once she graduates with both degrees and totals enough hours, she plans to work for a regional and then a major airline, according to a press release, adding that she is set to enter into a flight operations management position, such as chief pilot, with her masters.

“Megan is an outstanding example of what a student’s interest in aviation can accomplish. Along with her studies and keeping a 4.0 GPA, Megan also works as a certified flight instructor teaching other new students how to fly while she builds her hours of flying time. We are extremely proud to present her with our first aviation scholarship and I, as a pilot myself, look forward to following her advancement within the aviation industry,” said Chairman/President TB2 Steve Ziomek in a prepared statement.

To honor Ms. Whittard as the first TB2 Aviation Scholarship recipient, TB2 hosted a luncheon, sponsored by The Amazing Flameless Candle, represented by Colin LaBerge, CEO, with keynote speaker, W. J. “Jim” Lane, City of Scottsdale Mayor.

Other attendees included representatives of Arizona State University, Ira A. Fulton Schools of Engineering, TB2 board members, and other special guests, the release said.

“It was an honor to be co-presenter with Steve Ziomek, of our initial scholarship award to Megan Whittard at a ceremony held at Thunderbird Field II Veterans Memorial, Scottsdale Airport. TB2 is aggressively moving forward with its aviation industry student educational programs with schools and other various youth organizations. We are scheduled to present at least six aviation scholarships in the coming year 2020,” said Rudy R. Miller, TB2’s advisory board and scholarship committee chairman, in a prepared statement.

He said during the past year, six colleges were selected statewide that offer aviation curriculum, to receive TB2 scholarship funds for scholarship recipients. The colleges screen and select the qualified candidates meeting TB2 criteria, which includes a separate component for veterans.

“Megan was a student in several aviation classes I’ve taught at ASU. She is an exceptional scholar and a highly skilled pilot. Megan is truly a role model for women pursuing careers in aviation,” said Marc O’Brien, program chair of aeronautical management technology, chief ground instructor, and senior lecturer, ASU, Ira A. Fulton Schools of Engineering, in a prepared statement.

Thunderbird Field II Veterans Memorial, Inc. -- a non-profit 501(C)(3) dedicated to preserving the history of aviation in Scottsdale -- honors all military veterans and creates educational opportunities in aviation for young students, The Scottsdale Airport, according to the release.

During World War II, the airfield, built for training U.S. Army Air Corp pilots in 1942, was known as Thunderbird Field II. Thunderbird Field II graduated more than 5,500 men and women pilots of who many saw military action in Europe and the Pacific.

The field and school were deactivated on Oct. 16, 1944, sold to Arizona State Teachers College, then to the Arizona Conference of Seventh Day Adventists, and finally to the City of Scottsdale in 1966, the release added.