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Alumni Spotlight: Air Force Col. Aaron Vance
In honor of Veteran's Day, the Eagle Eye would like to thank Col. Vance and all TAHS grads, past and present, for their service.
November 11, 2019
For nearly thirty years, Tyrone native Aaron Vance has served his country in the United States Air Force in both active duty and as a member of the Pennsylvania Air National Guard.
Vance graduated from Tyrone Area High School in 1989 and began his Air Force career as a cadet at the United States Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs, Colorado. He graduated from the Academy in 1993 and went into active duty.
Throughout his years of service, Vance has had many jobs and has risen to the rank of Colonel. He is currently serving as an Air Battle Manager in the Pennsylvania Air National Guard.
As a Battle Manager, it is Vance’s responsibility to coordinate and direct any assets in the air during an Air Force combat mission. This includes fighters, bombers, remotely piloted aircraft, drones, helicopters, artillery, and cruise missiles.
The job is a complicated and critically important part of any combat mission. Vance describes his job this way, “Basically, if it flies through the air, the Air Operations Center directs it by creating the air-tasking order. As the Chief Combat Operations, I make sure the mission gets executed effectively.”
As a result of his job, Colonel Vance has traveled all over the world and has been involved in many combat missions, including in the Middle East.
In his career Vance has also spent time as a Readiness Support Commander, in charge of payroll, food service, training, and equipment. One of the responsibilities of this job was awarding promotions to other service members. He also served as the Deputy Commander for the 112th Air Operations Squadron, and the Director of Operations of the 193d Combat Operation Squadron. This means it was Vance’s responsibility to ensure that the troops and personnel were properly trained and well equipped to complete their missions worldwide.
Throughout all of these different assignments, one thing hasn’t changed in Vance’s life: the support of his family.
No matter where he is being sent, or how long he’ll be away, his family is behind him all the way.
Col. Vance left active duty in June 1998 and joined the 112th Air Control Squadron, a part of the Pennsylvania National Guard. This was a very fortunate career move for Vance because unlike many servicemen and women who must constantly move because of their military careers, this allowed his family to stay rooted in the Tyrone Area.
He and his wife Jennifer are both Tyrone natives and they currently live in Bald Eagle. They have three children, two of whom graduated from Tyrone and one that is currently a freshman.
“My kids were able to grow up in the Tyrone area, which is the same area that my wife and I grew up in,” said Vance.
Vance’s children are all very proud of their father’s service.
“My dad has a high level of responsibility in his job. Some days it takes him across the world. But no matter the distance he has always been available to his family. We miss him so much when he travels, but that only makes the time we do have with him extra special,” said daughter Carrie, TAHS Class of 2015.
Vance’s son Ryan, who graduated in 2018, is also proud of the example set by his dad. In fact, Ryan followed in his father’s footsteps to become an Eagle Scout in 2017.
“My dad has been very successful in the military and he is one of my biggest role models. I am very fortunate to have a dad as supportive and as strong as him,” said Ryan.
Even though Vance has been fortunate with his family life, it hasn’t been without its challenges. There have been a lot of soccer games, band competitions, chorus concerts, and other school events that Vance had to miss over the years due to his service.
However, this family never let that become a major roadblock in their lives.
“My parents never let my dad’s career drastically affect our family life. My brother, sister, and I are lucky to have a huge support system with our grandparents and aunts. Of course, missing our dad during special moments was tough, but he worked hard to make sure that he was there for all of the milestones,” said Carrie.
“I am very proud of the work my dad has accomplished over the years,” said daughter Eliza.
Without a doubt, Vance’s biggest supporter throughout his career has been his wife, Jennifer, who is also a 1989 graduate of Tyrone Area High School.
“Aaron’s service has been the opportunity of a lifetime. It is an honor for Aaron to serve our country and it is an honor for us to support him. Aaron’s work has allowed him to travel the world and work towards goals for an important and greater good. We have received blessings more than we could imagine and we are so grateful. We are incredibly proud of Aaron and of all of those who serve,” said Jennifer.
Tyrone alumni have a long history of service to their country. Vance believes that service is something that young people should think about and appreciate, regardless of whether it is in the military or in any other career or volunteer opportunity.
“I think it’s important to understand the value of service,” said Vance.
Vance also has some advice to any Tyrone students considering a career in the military. “Make sure you want to do that. It’s a commitment! You can’t join the service just for your mom, dad, grandma, or grandpa. You can certainly join if you feel it’s the right move for you. If you do join, you won’t be disappointed,” said Vance.