Through Airmen's Eyes: Plumber's plan to become pilot is no pipe dream

  • Published
  • By Tech. Sgt. Elizabeth Moody
  • 446th Airlift Wing, Public Affairs
(This feature is part of the "Through Airmen's Eyes" series on These stories focus on a single Airman, highlighting their Air Force story.)

With a lot of hard work and a little patience, the dream of becoming a pilot with the Air Force Reserve is beginning to become a reality for a plumber assigned to the 446th Civil Engineering Squadron, here.

Tech. Sgt. Lazare Quintana, 446th CES utilities system assistant, was sponsored by the 313th Airlift Squadron for a position as a C-17 Globemaster III pilot. With his transfer approved by Air Force Reserve Command Dec. 7, Quintana is turning in his pipe wrench and planning to head off to Officer Training School in March, bringing him one step closer to his dream of flying the friendly skies.

"I knew I wanted to be a pilot in high school," said Quintana. "But I knew my family couldn't afford to send me to school. I enlisted in the Air Force so I could become associated with the culture of the Air Force and grow from there."

Taking advantage of tuition assistance, Quintana said he began taking college courses right after basic training.

"I earned a bachelor of science degree in professional aeronautics from Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University in April 2012," said Quintana. "I got the entire degree with tuition assistance and a lot of Reservists forget they have that benefit."

Quintana said he's always loved what he does, whether fixing pipes or learning to fly.

"I've always wanted to push myself to do the best I could do," said the Albuquerque, N. M., native.

Quintana said many people throughout the 446th Airlift Wing have helped him achieve his goal, however, his wife's support was most cherished.

"I wouldn't be here without my wife's support, she is everything," said Qunitana, who resides in Spokane, Wash.

"Qunitana's the one to support because he's done so much for this squadron," said Chief Master Sgt. William Markgraf, 446th CES, chief enlisted manager here. "Anything he gets involved with, Quintana does an absolutely stellar job. We hate to see him go but this is the opportunity of a lifetime. This is his dream. "