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Kalispell resident set to graduate from elite Air Force fighter pilot program

Kalisell resident Jake Johnson.

Courtesy: Suzanne Johnson

A Kalispell Air Force pilot beat the odds -- he was one of two picked from 240 officers for an elite training program, and after 55 weeks he is ready to fly.

The Johnson family's memories of their son, Jake Johnson, are caught in family photos.

"He is just an amazing young man, so we are super proud of him for that," said Johnson’s mother, Suzanne Johnson.

The Johnsons watch Jake fly at supersonic speeds as part of the Air Force’s Euro-Nato Joint Jet Pilot Training Program.

"There the A team," Johnson’s father, Mark Johnson, told NBC Montana.

His parents said he had less than a 1 percent chance to make it into a program that works with the United States’ NATO allies.

"They just send the cream of the cream from all these different countries over here, so to be a part of that caliber of group is impressive," Suzanne Johnson said.

"He worked hard in college,” said Mark Johnson. “He was on the dean's list every semester and really just applied himself."

From a young age, Jake Johnson knew he was destined for a career in aviation. His bedroom at home still houses model airplanes he made with his dad as a kid.

The Air Force runs in the family; his great uncle flew in the Air Force during Vietnam.

"He has always known family members in the military, but for me, personally, I think just seeing him pursuing his dreams and doing what he wants to do is just very rewarding for me, you know, to see him accomplish his dreams," said Mark Johnson.

Johnson’s parents said he will be flying with the first wing at Langley Air Force Base after getting his wings in Texas on Friday. It’s another accomplishment for Jake Johnson, as this base was his fourth choice out of 30.

"They train the top pilots in the United States Air Force," said Mark Johnson.

They are ready to see him fly and serve his country and make his dreams a reality.A Kalispell Air Force pilot beat the odds -- he was one of two picked from 240 officers for an elite training program, and after 55 weeks he is ready to fly.

The Johnson family's memories of their son, Jake Johnson, are caught in family photos.

"He is just an amazing young man, so we are super proud of him for that," said Johnson’s mother, Suzanne Johnson.

The Johnsons watch Jake fly at supersonic speeds as part of the Air Force’s Euro-Nato Joint Jet Pilot Training Program.

"There the A team," Johnson’s father, Mark Johnson, told NBC Montana.

His parents said he had less than a 1 percent chance to make it into a program that works with the United States’ NATO allies.

"They just send the cream of the cream from all these different countries over here, so to be a part of that caliber of group is impressive," Suzanne Johnson said.

"He worked hard in college,” said Mark Johnson. “He was on the dean's list every semester and really just applied himself."

From a young age, Jake Johnson knew he was destined for a career in aviation. His bedroom at home still houses model airplanes he made with his dad as a kid.

The Air Force runs in the family; his great uncle flew in the Air Force during Vietnam.

"He has always known family members in the military, but for me, personally, I think just seeing him pursuing his dreams and doing what he wants to do is just very rewarding for me, you know, to see him accomplish his dreams," said Mark Johnson.

Johnson’s parents said he will be flying with the first wing at Langley Air Force Base after getting his wings in Texas on Friday. It’s another accomplishment for Jake Johnson, as this base was his fourth choice out of 30.

"They train the top pilots in the United States Air Force," said Mark Johnson.

They are ready to see him fly and serve his country and make his dreams a reality.

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