Pilot starts scholarship for UConn’s Air Force ROTC students

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Grace Merritt

2 min read

During a freshman orientation session in Storrs, an Army ROTC officer pointed to the Hilltop dorm and said, “If you join us, you can rappel off that 10-story building over there.” That clinched it for Amy “Carson” Bond ’80 (ED).“I thought, ‘Oh, I’m all over that,’” Bond recalls.

After all, this was a freshman who had her own motorcycle and was an aspiring ski racer. “I enjoy things that are a little bit scary,” she says.

She signed up for the Army ROTC and then, as a sophomore, transferred to Air Force ROTC when the opportunity to apply to train as a pilot through ROTC became available. She was thrilled to be selected as one of 13 women for the inaugural program, beating out hundreds of applicants.

And the rest, as they say, is history. After graduating, Bond reported to Columbus Air Force Base in Mississippi for one year of pilot training. She was then assigned to McClellan Air Force Base and the CT-39, a business-type jet, flying military generals and VIPs around the country. Her last assignment was to Travis AFB near San Fransisco, where she flew C-5 cargo jets, transporting helicopters, tanks, and even President Ronald Regan’s limousine around the world.

“I was very excited about flying those because, at the time, they were the biggest plane in the world,” she says.

Eight years later, she left the service to become a pilot for American Airlines, where she built a 34-year career. She was eventually promoted to captain, piloting Boeing 737s.

Bond, who recently retired and lives in Marina Del Ray, California, says she loved the excitement and problem-solving aspects of flying the most.

“For me, it was never boring because my mind was always thinking about contingencies. You have to be prepared,” she says. “In some cases, you’ll only have seconds or minutes to deal with an issue, like the time we had to shut down a smoking C-5 engine after takeoff or when a passenger had a heart attack over the middle of the Pacific and we had to divert to Anchorage.”


Bond is glad she took the leap of faith and hopes to encourage other students who might be on the fence to consider joining Air Force ROTC. To give them a nudge, she recently started a scholarship to support a UConn freshman or sophomore enrolled in the program.

“I think the military is a good stepping-stone or career choice for kids graduating from college because you can get excellent training in an interesting career field,” she says. “I had the opportunity to experience things that normal career paths don’t allow you to do.”

Lt. Col. Adam Morgan, commander of UConn’s Air Force ROTC, Detachment 115, says Bond’s scholarship will help UConn cadets for years to come.

“This will have a great impact,” he says. “It will not only help acknowledge a cadet’s good behavior and accomplishments but will help make their education more affordable.”


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