U.S. Navy Lt. Corey Pritchard
On July 23, 2002, U.S. Navy Lt. Corey Pritchard landed his F/A-18E Super Hornet onto the deck of the USS Abraham Lincoln, marking the aircraft’s maiden voyage. His childhood love affair with flying has quickly evolved into a bright military career where he controls one of the world’s most advanced fighter planes.
Pritchard, who graduated from Southeast with a degree in engineering physics in December 1996, initially thought he might be too old to fly in the Navy. Friends, however, convinced the pilot otherwise, and Pritchard was accepted into flight school shortly after graduation.
“I believe that having an engineering and physics background and flight experience certainly gave me an edge, although it was not a requirement for this job,” he said. “The dedication and flexibility of being a student prepared me for the challenges of flight school, flying in the fleet, and most importantly, being an officer in the United States Navy.”
Following a 2003 deployment to the Arabian Sea, Prichard was assigned to Strike Fighter Weapons School Pacific in Lemoore, Calif. The group, primarily Topgun graduates, works with the Navy and Marine Corps fighter squadrons of the west coast to update them on air-to-air and air-to-ground tactics.
Lt. Pritchard’s own Topgun dreams became a reality in summer 2004 when he began the eight-week program in Fallon, Nev.
When asked about his former student, Dr. John Tansil, Southeast associate professor of physics, said, “Not many schools can claim a graduate who has become a top military pilot. It’s hard to imagine one of my former students at the controls of the most advanced fighter plane in the world, a $57 million high-tech machine. It gives you a feeling of real pride.”
Pritchard and his wife, whom he met at Southeast, have one son.