PLAINFIELD, NJ — Walter W. Young III, a junior and Air Force Junior ROTC cadet at Plainfield High School, has been awarded the U.S. Air Force 2020 Chief of Staff Private Pilot Scholarship, a flight academy scholarship to attend an accredited aviation university this summer.

Young is one of 200 Air Force Junior ROTC cadets from around the world to receive the scholarship from Headquarters Air Force Junior ROTC in Montgomery, AL. The scholarship is valued at approximately $22,500 and covers transportation, room and board, academics and flight hours required to potentially earn a private pilot license. More than 2,575 cadets apply for the scholarships worldwide. There are more than 125,000 high school students enrolled in Air Force Junior ROTC at almost 900 high schools in the U.S and overseas.

Young is an aspiring aviator whose goal is to fly for the U.S. Air Force and the airlines as an airline transport pilot. He is currently a certified private pilot with a glider rating and continues flying to build his flight hours and ratings. He has been flying since the age of 12.

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“I am truly grateful and humbled to have been chosen by the U.S. Air Force for this scholarship, which will provide me the opportunity to go further in my aviation training and achieving my goal of one day flying as a pilot in the Air Force,” Young said.

He noted it took a lot of hard work on his part, and the support of his parents, saying, “A lot of hard work and effort has gotten me to where I am today, and I am forever grateful to my parents whose loving support and sacrifice has been an encouraging force guiding me closer to achieving my dreams.”

As an Air Force JROTC cadet, Young serves as the core commander of his unit with the rank of Cadet Lt. Colonel. 

His instructor, Chief Yasmeen Wilson, Chief Master Sergeant (Retired), United States Air Force, Air Force JROTC Senior Aerospace Science Instructor at Plainfield High School, said, “Walter is an exceptional young man, and we couldn't be prouder. This is truly an example of preparation meeting opportunity. Walter put in the hard work and now has an opportunity to see and do amazing things."

Young lives in Plainfield with his parents Walter Young, Jr. and Marjorie Young, and younger sister Chelsea, also an AFJROTC cadet. For his family this is a great achievement Walter has been dutifully working toward.

His father said, “We are very proud of Walter for being a great son, student and all-around wonderful young man. He has worked tremendously hard in his aviation and regular academic studies as well as maintained a commitment to his JROTC leadership drill and training which is not easy to do. Words cannot express how grateful we are for having him recognized by the Air Force for his efforts. We know that Walter could not have achieved this great honor alone and would like to acknowledge the tireless work of CM Sgt. Wilson and MSgt. Eubanks (Plainfield High School AFJROTC instructors) who have been instrumental in training, supporting and mentoring him. We are truly blessed parents.”

Young’s mother said Walter understands the challenges of being a pilot. “We are very proud of Walter for staying focused and determined in pursuing his goal towards becoming a pilot. He is an amazing young man full of heart and courage in all that he does. He understands the challenges and has persevered through it to get this far. Now that he is among those selected for the Air Force Scholarship Pilot Program, the opportunity to attain his goal will be more within his reach. This truly is a blessing and we thank God for it.”

Young has passed the FAA written exam for his private Pilot-G certificate, with a score of 93 percent, and has flown and continues to fly several types of aircrafts. He first soloed in 2017. To date, he has over 127 hours of ground school, 41.2 hours of overall flight time and has completed 128 landings. In 2018 and 2019, the New Jersey State Legislature and General Assembly through Citation and Joint Legislative Resolution recognized Walter for his aviation achievements.  He was also awarded the 2018 W.I.N. award by the NAACP.

Young was featured in the June 2018 edition of Soaring Magazine, where he was recognized for receiving a scholarship from Soaring Society of America (SSA).

He is currently a youth member of several prominent organizations that are focused on aviation and/or community empowerment, including the NAACP, Black Pilots of America (BPA), Soaring Society of America (SSA), Aero Club Albatross (ACA) and Aircraft Owners and Pilot Association (AOPA).

He volunteers his time to different aviation causes such as attending events and talking about the benefits of flying, as well as volunteers by helping out at various local airports. Young is always willing to share the joys of aviation with others.

At Plainfield High School, Young is enrolled in honors classes and is a member of the swim team and the debate team. Walter believes in the mantra “you can do more than you think is possible” as reflected in his accomplishments.

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This spring Young will be notified to which university he has been assigned to attend the summer training.

About the Flight Academy Scholarship
The Flight Academy Scholarship Program is an Air Force-level initiative in collaboration with the commercial aviation industry to address the national civilian and military pilot shortage.  Those who participate in the program do not incur a military commitment to the Air Force or other branch of service, nor does completing the program guarantee acceptance into one of the military’s commissioning programs.

About Plainfield High School’s AFJROTC
The mission of Air Force Junior ROTC is to develop citizens of character dedicated to serving their nation and community, while instilling values of citizenship, service to the United States, personal responsibility and sense of accomplishment. When looking to fill tomorrow’s career needs with the best candidates, there is simply no better place for the nation to look than Air Force Junior ROTC.

For more information, please contact 908-731-4333 or