With Veteran’s Day upon us, it’s time to think about those who have served our country. And at RAI Jets, we are so proud to have many veterans in our ranks.
Did you know that RAI Jets was founded by a veteran? Our Chief Pilot, Brian Riley (see below) faithfully served his country, and our love and respect for veterans is part of our culture here at RAI Jets. We understand and appreciate the admirable skill set veterans bring to work every day.
So thank you to all military veterans who have given of themselves to defend our country, including the wonderful vets that are part of our team. We salute you!
Kevin Dingman is a pilot for RAI Jets who served the U.S. Air Force from 1982-2001. He enlisted as a F-16 Crew Chief for the 6515th Test and Evaluation Squadron at Edwards Air Force Base, California, then went on to officer training and was an F-16 mission pilot and maintenance test pilot at-Nellis Air Force Base, Nevada. Later, he transferred to Luke Air Force Base, Arizona, and was an instructor and examiner. “My service taught me gratitude for our freedoms, including the freedom to fly,” he said.
Lucas Freudenberg is one of our King Air pilots and a Major in the U.S. Air Force. He joined up in 2001 and still proudly serves today at the 110th Wing in Battle Creek, Michigan as the Wing Inspector General. There, he is also a C-21 and MQ-0 pilot. Since getting his Air Force wings, he has served six deployments overseas. “The military makes you a disciplined pilot who always prioritizes the safety and needs of those you’re flying,” said Lucas.
Steve Lambert served in the U.S. Air Force as a pilot from 1983-2004. He had landed on every continent on the planet before becoming one of our Captains at RAI Jets. In the Air Force, he flew thousands of hours in worldwide operations and was chosen as Flight Commander for the first class of students to be trained for on the T-6 Texan II. Now he enjoys the adventure of meeting new people and the variety of every flight at RAI Jets. “My military experience taught me to prepare for all contingencies, which means charter customers are assured of a safe and comfortable flight,” Steve said.
Bobby Prater is a U.S. Army veteran and pilot with RAI Jets who was active duty from 1986-2017. He enlisted as airborne infantry, and then attended flight school to become a Blackhawk helicopter pilot. During his time in the Army, he was stationed in Germany, Korea, and Kosovo and deployed for combat tours in Somalia and Iraq. From 1995-2000 he served in the inactive ready reserves, and then joined the Michigan National guard in 2000 until his retirement in 2017. “The Army teaches you attention to detail, but also how to adapt to different situations—both good qualities for a pilot to have at RAI Jets,” Bobby said.
Brian Riley is the Chief Pilot/Captain and co-founder of RAI Jets. He joined the U.S. Army out of high school and went straight into helicopter flight training. Brian served active duty in the Army from 1984-1990, flying a UH1 (Huey) out of Fort Hood, Texas. When he returned home to Michigan, he served in the Michigan Army National Guard from 1999-2008 as a Pilot in Command and instructor pilot for Blackhawk helicopters. Brian was proud to serve his country and says leading a business is similar to leading in the Army. “Lead from the front and take care of your people,” he said.
Todd Rumsey is a King Air Captain at RAI Jets. He served in the U.S. Air Reserve from 1987-1993 and was an honor graduate in the top 10% of the training program. He is an experienced Aircraft Crew Chief and served at Luke Air Force Base in Arizona, working on F-16’s. He also served the Reno Air National Guard working on RF4-D’s and the Battle Creek Air National Guard, where he worked on OA37’s and A10’s. “The Air Force makes you more professional and detail-oriented, which is a plus for my work at RAI Jets,” Todd said.
Doug Swartz earned an engineering degree and then enlisted in the U.S. Air Force to train as a pilot at Webb Air Force Base in Texas. He served active duty from 1967-1973, including a year in Vietnam flying OV-1 Broncos. He was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross for flying 300 combat missions in 12 months and then spent more than 30 years at Upjohn/Pharmacia/Pfizer as a pilot and then director of Aviation. Over his career, Doug has accumulated more than 20,000 hours of flying time without incident or violations. His experience in aviation is an asset to the RAI Jets team. “My work at RAI Jets has been a great continuation of my military and corporate experience,” he said.
To the veterans at RAI Jets, and all who serve our country, we thank you for your service and wish you a Happy Veteran’s Day!