Major Dan Rooney, an F-16 pilot in the Oklahoma Air National Guard, was on a commercial flight in 2006 that would end up changing his life and guiding his future.
The flight was carrying the remains of Corporal Brock Bucklin, an American hero killed in the line of duty in Iraq. Major Rooney watched as Corporal Bucklin’s flag-covered casket was unloaded to his grieving family. Among them was the Corporal’s young son, Jacob. Major Rooney thought of his own wife and daughters. He’d seen combat but witnessing the other, more intimate side of war through Jacob’s eyes was life-altering.
Hometown: Stillwater, Oklahoma
Major: Bachelor’s in geography, master’s in psychology
Tell us more about the Folds of Honor: FoH was formed in 2007 when I decided to commit my life changing the future of America’s grieving spouses and dependents. FoH is dedicated to providing educational opportunities to the families of veterans that are either killed or wounded while protecting the United States.
Finish this sentence: “My favorite KU memory is…”meeting my wife Jacqy.
“I became a Jayhawk because…” I wanted to play golf at KU.
“I’m most proud of…” using my talents to have a positive impact on families of our fallen and disabled soldiers
The best advice I ever got: Volition = the power of choice.
My guilty pleasure: getting my shoes shined in airports
What is the biggest challenge you’ve faced in your career? Making it thru pilot training in the USAF and flying the F-16 in combat.
What one goal would you like to achieve in your life (personally or professionally)? Have a generational impact on my family and the country.
What did you want to be when you were growing up? A PGA professional and F-16 pilot.