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Catching Up With...

Catching Up With... Lieutenant Colonel Christopher C. Jackson, BCS'96

Currently, I’m a Reserve Officer in the military, and I was on active duty for 13 years. Now I’m in the Reserves, and it’s been good. I’ve been able to be a pilot the entire time except for one year when I was in school. I’ve been able to do a lot of different other jobs besides what we call our desk job. I’ve been very fortunate to have a lot of different experiences. I’ve flown mainly T-38s (Norththrop T-38 Talon) and F-15Es (McDonnell Douglas F-15E Strike Eagle) for my time in the Air Force, and I feel very fortunate because very few people get to experience what I have in my Air Force career. It’s been an honour and a privilege to get to do these things. I still get to fly these airplanes every day, and when I’m not working for the military, I’m a Delta Airlines pilot. It’s been fun!


Tell us a story that has stayed with you from your time at BCS.
I started in Form IV at BCS. I was more of a homesick kid in my first year there, where I really enjoyed the school, the academics and the athletics, but at the end of the day, I was more homesick than anything. I thought about leaving after Form IV, and then I decided that the school was such a good school it would help me in my pursuits in life to stay. I’m so glad I did because the next three years were pretty amazing. The sports, the extracurricular activities, and the academics were all second to none when I was at BCS, so I’m very appreciative of my time at BCS. The teachers, the classmates I had there, and just all the opportunities that BCS provided while I was there.


Why do you think the story stuck with you for this long?
When I look back, a foundation helps you be successful in life and I think BCS had it all. It had leadership, it had the academics, it had others that were motivated to do well and excel in life, and it helped me set goals that I wanted for myself in the future. I think those things were really instilled inside of me when I was at BCS. I appreciated those opportunities. One thing I remember is being part of the Chapel. I was one of the wardens. I started in Form V and by the end I was Head Warden. I got to see the Chapel every day and every time I see a picture of it it brings a smile to my face. Reverend Peacock was the Chaplain, and she taught three classes. I really enjoyed having her as the Chaplain, and her leadership and guidance along the way. That’s a fun story for me to think back to and it's stayed with me, because I think religion is important to me at an underlying level, and that was a nice foundation. I was glad to get to serve the BCS Chapel while I was there.


If you could go back, would you change anything?
I wouldn’t change anything. Not everything was perfect, but overall, I look back with a big smile on my face for my time at BCS. The staff, the teachers, the opportunities, the athletics, the academics, all have their ups and downs and challenges. Overall, when I look back I don’t have anything that I think I wish I could change, I don’t have that in my mind at all.


How did BCS influence your decision to go to a military school?
I had the idea to go to military school before I went to BCS. I had two older sisters who both applied to service academies, my dad is a retired Army officer and pilot, and my uncle is a retired Air Force officer and pilot. Probably with these experiences growing up, listening to my dad’s stories, and seeing my sisters apply to service academies in the U.S., early on in 6th or 7th grade I decided that’s what I wanted to do. At the age of 11, I got to fly with my uncle in a small Cessna and I was hooked. Hearing his stories of flying in the Air Force made me want to pursue that avenue. I had that goal in the back of my mind while I was at BCS and it helped me stay focused, and work hard at BCS.


Was your decision to attend a military school influenced by your experience as a BCS cadet?
I think my career decision was reinforced by the cadet program. Understanding leadership, how to follow, how to lead, and the really cool camp experience with Edson Warner as our camp leader. The Cadet Inspection experience was also really cool, the ceremony and flags and the cannons that were a part of the ceremony too. Ed Mortimer oversaw that under Major David Turner, and it was a fun experience as well.


What did you like the most about being a BCS cadet?
When it comes to cadets, I thought it was fun that the more work you put into it, the more responsibility they gave you over the years. For me, I got to be the No. 2 in charge. I think Christine Pound was the Cadet Major when I was No. 2, and I think it was a lot of fun to be in charge and to be a leader at BCS at the end of my time there. I think some enjoy cadets more than others, and I totally understand that. I think for the folks that do enjoy it, taking a leadership role is great. For the ones that don’t enjoy it as much, at least it gives them a little taste of service and doing something above themselves, which is important for everyone. There has to be some higher purpose for what we do out there, and cadets helps instill that.


Have you encountered other BCS Alumni who are following the same career choice as you?
Monty Price, BCS'92, left before I was at BCS, and he’s a Canadian Forces Intelligence officer, I believe. He’s working his way up the ranks as well and is doing very well in his career. I remember meeting him and thinking we were on similar paths.


Do you have any advice to offer current BCS students from your experience at BCS?
I think goal setting is really important to doing well in life and in school. You have to have something you’re shooting for and I think the earlier someone can solidify in their mind what they would like to do with their early adult life, the easier it will be to get pointed in that direction and put your effort in that direction. I think having a mindset to reflect on what you really like to do with your life is very helpful in trying to figure out where you’re going to go next. For me, it was easy because I had the goal of flying in the U.S. Air Force and serving in the military, and that helped me a lot. For others, whatever they might want to be, having a goal, a pathway, chart it out, and you can go and achieve these goals. I think goal setting is the most important thing for a young person at BCS to have success.