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NEWS | April 20, 2021

A 2nd Lieutenants Desired Future of Leading from the Air

By Marine Corps Sgt. Sarah Ralph 12th Marine Corps District

As a Marine, you are either in the infantry or you support the infantry. Marine Corps aviation plays a major contribution to achieving mission success while working with their ground counterparts. A Marine Corps pilot is able to provide support for the mission and decisions of what ends up being the maneuver warfare. One of the biggest impacts aviation plays in is the Marine Air-Ground Task Force. The MAGTF is the only combined combat organization in the world that consists of all integrated parts of cohesively working together while being in the air, land, and sea.

For 2nd Lt. Sawyer Montgomery, a temporary officer selection assistant with Recruiting Station Orange County, he not only desired the physical and mental challenges that the Marine Corps presented to him, but he knew aviation was the path he aspired for.

“As a pilot, you have a unique opportunity to support the ground scheme of maneuver,” says Montgomery. “My reason for wanting to be a part of the aviation community is simple: To make the lives of Marines better, and the lives of civilians and noncombatants safer. I hope to fly Hueys or Vipers. I want to be as connected to the ground as possible, performing [medical evacuations] in either combat or humanitarian crisis.”

Montgomery comes from a non-military background and did not find a passion for the Marine Corps until after he had already graduated Chapman University in Orange, California. After receiving his bachelor's degree in public relations and advertising, Montgomery went on to volunteer abroad.

“I volunteered with an organization called The Fabretto Foundation, which provides educational and vocational opportunities to the local populace. I traveled through the mountainous and rural northern zone of the country, shooting photos and creating documentary features for their upcoming fundraising season,” explains Montgomery.

“During this expedition, I saw a teacher carry her student through a mountain river. Later, I sheltered with a father and his son as Tropical Storm Nate made landfall in Nicaragua, a border-crossing weather event, which eventually became the costliest natural disaster in Costa Rican history. I felt like once my camera was off, I had nothing to offer the world. Experiences like these made me want to pursue a path where my impact on the world was more tangible. Knowing the Marines serve as America’s first responders, in times of war and humanitarian crisis, made me want to explore my options with them.”

Montgomery has a long road ahead of him with finishing training at The Basic School in Quantico, Virginia, and then to flight school in Pensacola, Florida. Although the road is long in order to get to his end goal, Montgomery is excited to see what is to come.

“Ultimately, I am very excited to pursue a career in the air. But more than everything, I love being a Marine. I love working with Marines. It is an honor and privilege to share the title with the incredible individuals I work with on a daily basis,” says Montgomery.