Soaring with the best: BU’s Pimm aims for flight school

For immediate release: Jan. 29, 2008

BLOOMSBURG — The future of one Bloomsburg University of Pennsylvania student is taking off -- literally.

Gregory Pimm, a junior from Harveys Lake and a graduate of Lake Lehman High School, is soaring among the cadet ranks of Air Force ROTC training as he works toward a goal of becoming a military pilot.

The son of John and Joye Pimm, he's about to attend a leadership symposium at the Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs, Colo., as one of just two cadets from the northeastern United States. In May, he will go to Maxwell-Gunter Air Force Base in Alabama as a cadet training assistant, an invitation that came from earning the Rising Eagle Warrior Spirit award during field training at Ellsworth AFB in South Dakota. He will help to train newcomers during
the four-week program at Maxwell.

But Pimm doesn't dream of being just any pilot. His goal is to fly B-1 bombers or F-22 fighter jets. He explains that it's a matter of speed. Both are supersonic aircraft and the prospect of that kind of speed is tantalizing. Asked if he has a touch of "Top Gun" syndrome, he laughs and says, “Not at all,” describing himself as a very reserved kind of person. As an Eagle Scout, however, he began focusing on leadership opportunities, and says that Bloomsburg University has presented a lot of networking and new perspectives.

A serious BU student, Pimm has dual majors in secondary education and history and a minor in aerospace studies. The last two relate directly to his interest in aviation, and he sees the education degree as the path to teaching after retirement from the Air Force.

If Pimm is admitted to flight school, he’ll have to serve at least 10 years in return for the government’s investment in his training. After all, it isn’t a simple thing to fly an aircraft worth $383 million at 900 miles an hour, a plane that can deliver nuclear weapons anywhere in the world and return to base nonstop. But he plans to serve for 20 years, so that’s not a hardship. And if he doesn't get a seat in flight school? Then he'll pursue training in the tactical area of aviation support, which continues something of a family tradition.

His eldest brother, Eric, was an Army sergeant who worked as an Apache helicopter crew chief, including two tours in Iraq; his brother, Jeff is a Navy airman and aviation boatswains mate who launches and recovers aircraft from the USS Enterprise.

Pimm's path began with a football scholarship, first at Lebanon Valley College and then Bloomsburg. Sidelined with an injury, he recognized that if he pushed his luck on the field he might lose his opportunity with the Air Force. So he gave up the game and plunged into studies, earning a spot on the dean's list and serving as a representative on the Community Government Association. He received a full Air Force scholarship for his academic achievements and pays the balance of his bills through several part-time jobs.

But Air Force ROTC remains his passion. He's one of the flight commanders for AFROTC Detachment 752 and was recognized as a top cadet while serving as physical fitness officer during field training. Commandant of Cadets Capt. Greg Marsh said, "He's a tremendous resource for our team. He appreciates hard work and can accomplish anything he sets his mind to."

And that just might include the cockpit of the B-1 bomber, the most advanced military aircraft of all.

Bloomsburg University is one of 14 universities in the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education. The university serves approximately 8,000 students, offering comprehensive programs of study in the colleges of Professional Studies, Business, Liberal Arts and Science and Technology.