UVU School of Aviation Sciences’ student Anthony “Joey” DeMarzo’s hard work paid off as he has earned a pilot slot with Air Force. Joey grew up in Vernal, Utah and went to SUU for a semester before one day deciding “I’m gonna fly!” To achieve his goal, he transferred to UVU and enrolled in UVU’s aviation sciences program.
One day Joey saw another student wearing an Air Force uniform on campus and he became curious. That’s when he found out about the Cross-town Universities program between UVU and BYU’s ROTC, which allows students to attend Air Force ROTC at BYU campus while attending the rest of their classes at UVU. Joey knew he wanted to fly for the military and at that time was on track to get his professional pilot. He met with a captain to discuss his goals and appreciated that the captain was frank about what Joey could expect: a lot of hard work and no false promises. That kind of honesty was what Joey wanted to hear, so he switched over to aviation administration and set his sites on Air Force.
Joey knew what goes in to getting the pilot slot—it’s a combination of several test scores, GPA, fitness score, commander rankings and field training scores—so he continued to work hard to get good grades and he trained hard to be competitive enough to get into and do well at the summer training that takes place in Alabama. Joey contracted as soon as he returned from Alabama. He’s been in training since the beginning of his sophomore year, which makes for about 2 ½ years of Air Force ROTC. “You do what you know you need to do to be where you need to be,” Joey said. “When your pilot board comes up you apply for pilot and you apply for it all.”
Joey learned he had earned the pilot slot after an unusual request to report for physical training on a Friday. As he arrived, he noticed buckets had been set out that were labeled with the various slots. Joey was given a football and told to put it in the spot he wanted. Joey enthusiastically spiked the football into the pilot slot bucket. Then he was told he’d earned the slot. The first people he called when he found out were his parents.
When asked what advice he would give to other aviation students looking to reach their goals, Joey said, “Keep an open mind and be willing to research all your options and get the facts. Don’t be afraid to learn something new.” Joey came to appreciate his UVU Aviation and BYU ROTC experiences even more as he started competing with people from other programs. He knew he had been well prepared here. “There’s always someone out there who knows more about something than you do, so learn something new every day. There’s always someone training harder than you, so never get complacent.”
Joey will finish up his classes and his medical by the end of the year; then the Air Force will tell him where he’ll end up for the next phase of training, which will last about 18 months. He could go to Texas, Oklahoma, or Mississippi.
When asked what he has learned throughout his training, Joey said he learned to be more respectful of others. “You never know what someone else has been through.” He also appreciates having a lot of opportunities here to develop leadership skills. As an upperclassman he is able to participate in the training of underclassmen. “It’s great to see what can come from pushing yourself.”
Joey said no matter what happens next, the experiences that prepared him to get where he is today are valuable and worth all the hard work.
Congratulations, Joey! We wish you continued success!