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Army Veteran Finds Aviation Career at Ozarka College

Published on May 28, 2019

 Justin Scheel graduated high school in May of 2010, and less than a month later he started basic training just after turning 18 years old. Justin and his wife, Sarah, packed up and moved to New York, where he was stationed at Fort Drum. After six months of being at his duty station, the army was seeking volunteers to be deployed to Afghanistan. At the time, Sarah was pregnant, but they made the decision that he could miss the pregnancy to volunteer and be back for the birth of their child.

While Justin was in Afghanistan, he was told that he would be home in time for the birth of their son. However, almost two weeks before the due date, he was told he would not be able to make it home. The day that Sarah went into labor, Justin's unit was doing patrol and hit an IED (Improvised Explosive Device). Justin was sent to be examined by a doctor on base, and while there, he found out through Facebook and friends that Sarah had given birth.

Justin received an honorable discharge and started looking for new career paths. He went to mechanic school and received a certificate but decided that was not a path he wanted to take. Justin then tried nursing school but also realized that was not the career for him. Then, he decided to pursue a degree in psychology so that he could help people. Justin and Sarah bought a house in New York when they turned 21. However, just when things were going well for the family, their house burned down leaving Justin, Sarah, and their two children with nothing.

Justin and Sarah decided to move back to Arkansas to start over. Justin became a volunteer firefighter, as well as a reserve police officer to serve his community. After they relocated to Arkansas Justin saw a billboard for Aviation at Ozarka College. He realized that this was his calling, and he knew that he could see himself with a career in flying. Justin's career goals include becoming a CFI (Certified Flight Instructor) and instructing students in aviation. Eventually Justin would like to fly for a major airline. When asked his thoughts on Ozarka, Justin said, "One thing that going to school at Ozarka College has taught me is that you are never too old to set another goal and pursue your dreams. "

For more information about the Ozarka College aviation program, please call 870.368.7926 or email: You can also visit us on the web at

PHOTO: Justin Scheel


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