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John Sledge


John usually flies as the wingman during the formation aerobatic routine performed by the Trojan Phlyers. However, he is qualified to lead the routine and will occasionally do so, as well as flying a solo aerobatic routine. 

Born and raised in the Mississippi delta region, John’s roots are buried deep in the Mississippi mud. Following his high school years, he was awarded a full ROTC scholarship to the University of Mississippi. He graduated from “Ole Miss” in 1959 with a degree in Geological Engineering. Immediately after graduation from “Ole Miss”, John accepted a commission as a Second Lieutenant in the United States Marine Corps, and he received his initial training at Quantico, Virginia. While undergoing training at Quantico as an infantry officer, John applied for and was accepted for training to be a Marine pilot. John entered the Navy Flight Training Command at Pensacola, Florida in 1960 and received his wings in the fall of 1961. 

John had a varied and productive Marine Corps career, serving at several stateside duty stations, as well as Japan and the Far East. He is a Vietnam War veteran. John’s time in combat was spent on “Yankee Station” flying missions in the F8 Crusader over North Vietnam, Laos, and South Vietnam. He flew from the aircraft carriers USS Kitty Hawk, USS Ticonderoga, and the USS Constellation. Following seven years on active duty, John accepted a commission in the Marine Reserves at NAS Dallas, and completed thirty years of military service, retiring with the rank of Colonel. In addition to the F8, he flew the F4 Phantom II, the EF10B Skyknight, and the FJ Fury. 

In 1966,John joined Braniff International and ended his career with the airlines in 1997. Following the bankruptcy of Braniff, he joined Piedmont Airlines and subsequently joined US Airways when Piedmont merged with them. John has the distinction of flying as a Captain on all three airlines. He has amassed over 30,000 flight hours. All of this time was in jet aircraft until he joined Trojan Phlyers and started flying the T-28, becoming an original member of the flight demonstration team. Trojan Phlyers was originally formed as a racing team, and John achieved a second place finish in the Reno Air Races in his first year of competing in the T-28. John still feels pride in accomplishing a difficult task while flying the airplane. This is evident when he is observed flying the tight wing position he maintains throughout the loops, rolls, and other intricate maneuvers demonstrated during the air show routine of the Trojan Phlyers. 

John currently makes his home in the Dallas area.

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