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NEWS | April 3, 2018

Fly balls to flight suits

By Airman 1st Class Joshua R. Maund 628th Public Affairs

JOINT BASE CHARLESTON, S.C. – A group of U.S. Air Force Academy alumni stationed at the 14th Airlift Squadron share a common bond. During their time as cadets, they sharpened their teamwork skills on a baseball diamond.

The comradery the cadets developed during their time in Colorado Springs has added to their effectiveness as pilots of the 14th AS Pelicans, Air Mobility Command and the Air Force as a whole.

“Playing baseball for the academy taught me to trust the people to your left and to your right,” said 1st Lt. Patrick Lobo, 14th AS pilot and former Air Force Academy outfielder. “That is how it works in the 14th, and that’s how it works in the Air Force.”

Retired Maj. Michael Kazlausky, the current Air Force Academy baseball head coach was also a 14th AS Pelican.  In 2008, Kazlausky, a former C-17 Globemaster III pilot, was inducted into the 14th AS Hall of Fame.

“Our job as a staff, is to ensure success on the baseball field and in all facets of the Academy and that each young man is ready to lead our great country upon graduation," said Kazlausky.

The pilots, who once played for one of Charleston’s most revered pilots, attribute some of their success as 14th AS Pelicans to their time as Air Force Academy falcons.

“Coach Kaz helped us establish a great work ethic,” said Capt. John Hourin, 14th AS pilot and former Air Force Academy pitcher. “When it came to academics, Coach Kaz didn’t play around. If you weren’t on top of your schooling, you were riding the bench. He kept us busy, but I think it made us the pilots and leaders we are today.”

Kazlausky “walked on” to the academy baseball team as a freshman and started all four years. He was the falcons leading batter in 1989 and 1991. After his college baseball career, Kazlausky spent his next four years here at Charleston Air Force Base as a C-17 pilot in the 14th AS and returned in 2002.

“Playing at the Academy under Coach Kaz really instilled the discipline and teamwork I’ve brought with me to Charleston,” said 1st Lt. Jacob Schomaker, 14th AS pilot and former Air Force Academy outfielder. “The teambuilding skills I learned at the academy really come into play when I’m working with an aircrew or even flying with former teammates.”