HomeFeatures

Hard Work Pays Off: Defender selected to become active-duty drone pilot

Staff Sgt. Jalen McMahan, 445th Security Forces Squadron fire team member, poses for a photo after completing training at the firing range, Nov. 8, 2020 at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio.

taff Sgt. Jalen McMahan, who was assigned to the 445th Security Forces Squadron at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio, for eight years, was recently selected to become an active-duty remotely piloted aircraft pilot. (Courtesy photo)

A Reserve Citizen Airman assigned to the 445th Airlift Wing, Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio, headed to drone pilot training in early 2021, following eight years of service to the 445th Security Forces Squadron.

During the squadron’s 2018 deployment to Kuwait, Staff Sgt. Jalen McMahan, fire team member, completed accelerated online classwork toward a master’s degree in justice administration. He balanced his course load with the demands of high-tempo deployment operations, at times working upward of 12-hour shifts.

As soon as he returned to the United States, he contacted a recruiter to apply for an active-duty commission in the Air Force. With both his undergraduate and graduate degrees in the field of criminal justice, along with four years’ civilian experience as a corrections officer, he anticipated that if he was selected, it would be for a security forces role.

“I always wanted to be a pilot, but I just never thought I’d get there,” McMahan said. “During that deployment, I simply focused on doing my job well, putting in the academic work to advance my career and poising my family for the future.”

For McMahan, this next step has been a long time coming. He was notified of his selection to become a remotely piloted aircraft pilot in December 2019. He was scheduled to report to Officer Training School in Alabama Jan. 5 of this year. Following graduation, he will attend advanced training in both Colorado and Texas.

“I’m excited to tackle something new and push myself,” the 28-year-old said. “I’m planning to carry what I’ve learned from my mentors and teammates here as I transition into active duty.”

McMahan and his wife, Tanner, are both Ohio natives. When they wed in 2017, the wedding party included friends McMahan met at the 445th.

“I will miss the family I’ve found in this squadron,” he added. “I was looking for a new challenge, but it’s going to be a big change to leave this behind.”

When asked what the future holds, McMahan said he hopes that once he settles at his permanent-duty station, he and Tanner can explore new places, go backpacking and purchase their first home together. #ReserveResilient

(Ingram is assigned to the 445th Airlift Wing public affairs office.)

Social Media

Facebook Twitter
Learning by Doing: Reserve recruiters participate in joint air operations #ReserveReady #ReserveRecruitshttps://t.co/LCsBHZEnXf
A New Capability: @920thRescueWing executes first high-speed, air-to-air refuel #ReserveReady #ReserveReformhttps://t.co/7G065u8rVV
The Future Work Environment: #AFRC mapping out a tomorrow highlighted by more alternative workspace arrangements… https://t.co/MDJqO9AL4S
It Can Be Done: The sky is the limit for med tech-turned-pilot #ReserveReady #ReserveResilient @307BombWinghttps://t.co/oSnkAM5h1e
The Globemaster: Reservists reflect on C-17 as fleet reaches four million flying hours #ReserveReadyhttps://t.co/zmddVwlcoR
Personnel Changes Are Coming: Reservists urged to claim their AFIPPS account in 2021 #ReserveReady #ReserveReformhttps://t.co/ye73FYKZxH
Pegasus Proficient: Aeromedical Reservists receive initial #KC46A training (Story by the @433AW) #ReserveReadyhttps://t.co/EaxCIW970c
A New Level of Realism: @LukeAFB Reservists ramp up combat casualty training #ReserveReady https://t.co/GJ3oB3fSx8 https://t.co/oKlxIfHOEZ
Still Answering the Call: More aeromed specialists deploy to support pandemic (Story by the @403rdWing)… https://t.co/AA4MHNDe3d
Behind the Braids: Reservists play key role in first women's hair policy change in 70 years #ReserveReadyhttps://t.co/2xdIpq6cOe
The April 2021 issue of Citizen Airman Magazine is online now! #ReserveReady #ReserveResilient #ReserveReform https://t.co/wScm3DZIFq
Racial disparity review highlights importance of trust (Commentary by AFRC Command Chief Master Sergeant Timothy Wh… https://t.co/clWOrQtVwM
2021: Forward Together (Commentary by Lt. Gen. Richard Scobee) #ReserveReady #ReserveResilient #ReserveReformhttps://t.co/14nGzzydPC
Individual Medical Requirements Are Your Responsibility (Story by @HQRIO) #ReserveReady https://t.co/SQMFAf54OV https://t.co/EmCU0r5efk
Wingman Saves: Command stands up program to promote crisis intervention #ReserveResilient #ReserveReformhttps://t.co/NMqeWdoQUL
RT @GenCQBrownJr: Today, Sharene & I met with Lt Gen Scobee, Chief Master Sgt. White Jr. & @USAFReserve #Airmen to discuss the important co…
Breaking Barriers: Expeditionary wing selects first woman, first Reserve command chief #ReserveReadyhttps://t.co/q9MrKSv3hG
Flexible and Resilient: Pacific Reservists overcome #COVID19 challenges to host @DoDYRRP event #ReserveReadyhttps://t.co/C2PfmfQYuA
AFR major promotion, captain continuation boards postponed #ReserveReady #ReserveReform https://t.co/6kJdtDLMCc https://t.co/a2JPooQf06