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THE THRILL OF PILOTING BACK HOME

Alison Bowman flies home, piloting her Air Force KC-135

By Patrick Lujan

Shortly after earning her U.S. Air Force pilot wings in 2023, former JFK sports star Alison Bowman learned that she’d be flying home on a Tour of Duty.

After a full year of planning, Bowman’s cool, unique opportunity finally came into fruition as she flew her KC-135 onto the Andersen Air Force Base runway on Saturday.

“I found out I was coming back home about a year ago. I was so excited,” the 2015 JFK graduate remembered. “I had just completed pilot training, so it made the entire process worth it for me.”

Now a 1st Lieutenant with the Hawaii Air National Guard, Bowman’s excitement for her trip back has been an understatement, to say the least. Taking the eight-hour flight west from Hickam Air Force Base in Honolulu to Guam was filled with positive anxiety.

1Lt Alison Bowman navigates the approach of her KC-135 into Andersen Air Force Base, Guam on her initial flight back home as an Air Force pilot. (courtesy photo)

“I flew the second half of the flight. I tried to sleep during the first half, but I probably only slept for around 10-15 minutes. I was pretty restless.”

Piloting the aircraft during the second half was by design, providing the young pilot to take control as she gained sight of the island she not only excelled in academically and athletically at JFK, but also represented Guam in international basketball and surfing competitions.

“My first time seeing the island was pretty surreal. The last time I was here, I came in as a passenger on a United plane, so being in the cockpit, in control of the aircraft, and overflying the island is an experience I’ll never forget.”

– Alison Bowman on flying her Air Force plane into Guam

The TDY will be long enough for her to rekindle relationships with friends, coaches, teachers and former teammates while showcasing her old stomping grounds with her Air Guard co-workers.

“I’ve been looking forward to showing my squadron members my favorite spots and restaurants, like Mosa’s, around the island. I’ve talked about how living here played a big role in, not only the person I am now, but also in my career,” said the 27-year-old now residing in Ewa Beach. “I’ve talked about my time at John F. Kennedy and the great friends and family I have here. I’ve been excited to show them all the beaches and hikes. I brought some surfboards, my kiteboard, and some diving equipment. I definitely overpacked haha. Luckily I was flying the plane, otherwise it would have been a hefty baggage fee.”

Ever the outdoors type, Alison intends to visit JFK with ‘so many great memories’ as well as spend as much time out and about when not doing flying missions.

“Guam is stunning and I’m so grateful for the opportunity to come back home.”

Alison’s high school accolades at JFK

Track & Field – 2x champion
Record breaker – 800m, 1500m, 3000m
Basketball – 2x 1st Team All-Island, 3rd place finish
Cross Country – 1x champion, All-Island winner
Surfing – Melanesian Surfing Cup Champion
Winner of the All Around/Multi Sport Athlete at the Governor’s Award Banquet in 2014

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COMING SOON …

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