Off he goes into the wild blue yonder…Off with one helluva roar

Ben, Age 9

My son was about 9 when he first started talking about building and flying planes. Maybe, even, he said, he’d build rockets and space-ships. So, it seemed the logical choice when he decided to go to the public university that has graduated more astronauts than any other in the US — Purdue University. 22 Purdue alumni have become astronauts and over 1/3 of all US manned space flights have had at least one Purdue graduate.1, 2, Pioneering Astronauts Gus Grissom and Neil Armstrong earned Purdue degrees, and aviator Amelia Earhart was a faculty member and advisor. It was coincidental that Purdue was only about 70 miles away from our home; my son likely would have ended up there had it been 700 miles away. For the last 5 years, he’s been a Boilermaker, studying Aeronautical and Astronautical Engineering.

Here is a plane that he (and the rest of his project team) built for an international competition recently. Shortly after this picture was taken on graduation night, I heard a rumor that the plane was “borrowed” (by others) to test it’s waterproofness. I think a bubbly, drinkable substance was to be used.

DFB project plane

Last weekend, he graduated:


Neil Armstrong Hall of Engineering, Purdue University, West Lafayette, IN

Sitting tall, next to statue of the first man to walk on the moon

On the same day, he was commissioned as a 2nd Lieutenant in the US Air Force.

2nd Lt., Standing next to the “Emerging P” statue on campus

Mom’s favorite portrait of him in AF Service Dress

His next steps are training as an Air Force navigator. Whether the future holds involvement with spacecraft, is something that will unfold in the years to come. I know that his future is bright, whatever he chooses, although a military career is a dangerous one and, as a mother, that worries me immensely. I am proud of him, though, for choosing what he felt was the right path for him. And I’m as happy as can be that he is still pursuing those dreams he has had since he was a little boy, nearly 15 years!

Good luck to you, Ben! I will hold you in my heart wherever you are in the world, or above it in the skies.

10 responses to “Off he goes into the wild blue yonder…Off with one helluva roar

  1. Anne, congratulations to Ben for his future career and what a great start! And what a lovely set of photos!
    As a mother whose son is soon to join the Royal Marines I share your mixed feelings of concern and pride in the successful pursuit of long held dreams.
    So many best wishes to you all!

  2. CONGRATULATIONS to Ben and proud mother. Praying future safty, success and happiness. The sky is the limit.


  3. Congratulations and you must be very proud!!!

    • Thank you. I’m proud of him for fearlessly being himself and pursuing his goals, and being an intelligent, proud, caring, honorable person.

  4. Congrats to Ben and his mama!

  5. A handsome and accomplished son… congratulations!
    …especially love the picture sitting with statue 🙂

    • That photo seems to be the family & friend fav! I’m still marveling at how agilely he hoisted himself on to that statue. Guess all the PT pays off.