Captain Kenneth James Thomas Shows His Daughter the Possibilities of Dreaming Big

by Jess Clackum

Captain Kenny Thomas, USAF Squadron Officer School 2015 (Photo credit: Kenny Thomas)

Captain Kenny Thomas, USAF Squadron Officer School 2015 (Photo credit: Kenny Thomas)

Captain Kenny Thomas deployed in support of Operations IRAQI and ENDURING FREEDOM as well as operations within SOUTHCOM, NORTHCOM, and the Pacific.  His military awards include the Air Medal, Aerial Achievement Medal, Air Force Commendation Medal, Air Force Achievement Medal, and Combat Readiness Medal.  He has over 1,300 flying hours and more than 600 combat hours. 

“THE SKY IS THE LIMIT UNTIL IT’S YOUR POINT OF VIEW.”

In 2015, Captain Thomas started the Eyes Above the Horizon outreach program that gives opportunities to underrepresented youth by helping develop and foster interest in aviation through flight introductions, mentorship, and immersion into the rich history and legacy of the Tuskegee Airmen. Since the program’s inception, 90 kids have enjoyed the unique experience of aviation.  The program is part of Legacy Flight Academy which was created by Major Keny Ruffin for students ages 16-19 who demonstrate a sincere interest in aviation. Thomas serves on its Board of Directors.

Captain Thomas enlisted in 2002 as an F-16 Avionics Technician and was stationed at Aviano Air Base in Italy. He earned his Commission as 2LT in 2008, after which he became an E-8C JSTARS (Joint Surveillance and Target Attack Radar System) Navigator.

Captain Kenneth James Thomas, T-1A Flight instructor, Historic 99th Flying Training Squadron (Photo: Kenny Thomas)

Captain Kenneth James Thomas, T-1A Flight instructor, Historic 99th Flying Training Squadron (Photo: Kenny Thomas)

Captain Thomas pictured here with Air Force and Army personnel receiving a crew brief from Colonel Randal Reed, 379th Expeditionary Operations Group Commander, before departing to escort the last ground convoy out of Iraq 18 Dec, 2011. This was the last Joint Surveillance Target Attack Radar System (JSTARS) combat mission over Iraqi air space. The JSTARS provided airborne, stand-off range, surveillance and target acquisition radar and command and control capabilities to ground personnel. (Photo credit: Tech. Sgt. DeNoris A. Mickle)

Captain Thomas pictured here with Air Force and Army personnel receiving a crew brief from Colonel Randal Reed, 379th Expeditionary Operations Group Commander, before departing to escort the last ground convoy out of Iraq 18 Dec, 2011. This was the last Joint Surveillance Target Attack Radar System (JSTARS) combat mission over Iraqi air space. The JSTARS provided airborne, stand-off range, surveillance and target acquisition radar and command and control capabilities to ground personnel. (Photo credit: Tech. Sgt. DeNoris A. Mickle)

Of the WASP, Captain Thomas says, “The story of the Women Air Service Pilots is one that should be told, as it is a story of endurance and perseverance.  The WASP played a critical role in paving the way for women and minorities in aviation. With their bravery and tenacity, WASP were able to chip away at the barriers to entry in a male-dominated field and demonstrated that people can achieve anything--no matter their circumstance! The WASPs heritage is especially dear to me because I am the father of an intelligent, hardworking daughter, named Dominica. My daughter aspires to fly one day, and without stories or examples of female aviators it would be very difficult for her to see her goal of flight as possible. As the Director of the Eyes Above the Horizon: Flight Introduction Program, I am awed and motivated by the number of young ladies interested in learning about aviation. Without realizing it, they are continuing the legacy of the WASP!”

Capt Kenneth Thomas’s daughter Dominica after having embarked on her first flight at 8 years old!!  (Photo credit:Kenny Thomas)

Capt Kenneth Thomas’s daughter Dominica after having embarked on her first flight at 8 years old!!  (Photo credit:Kenny Thomas)

The FlyGirls team salutes Captain Thomas for both his devotion to helping young people realize and achieve their dreams and his service to our country!

 "The women in my life who have supported, motivated, and pushed me to where I am today. My Grandmother, Mother and Daughter" –Kenny Thomas

 "The women in my life who have supported, motivated, and pushed me to where I am today. My Grandmother, Mother and Daughter" –Kenny Thomas