Steamboat Springs native aims high, finds success with the Air Force | SteamboatToday.com

Steamboat Springs native aims high, finds success with the Air Force

Major Jordan Ediger is joined by his dad, Paul (left) and his wife Nicole, and baby Grace at a promotion ceremony Friday in at the Laughlin Air Force Base in Texas.

— As a child growing up in Steamboat Springs, Jordan Ediger used to dream of being a pilot.

"He was always interested in flying," his father, Paul Ediger, said. "We were always assembling model rockets and stuff like that. We had a family friend, Ron Pollard, who was a squadron commander in the Navy and used to fly off of air craft carriers. He had a huge influence on Jordan."

Ediger’s dream came true about 10 years ago, when he earned his wings, and he has since accumulated more than 2,676 flight hours as a United States Air Force officer. The job has taken him around the world.

The Air Force pilot has been deployed three times, including twoce at Al Dhafra Air Base near Abu Dhabi, with missions to Afghanistan. Ediger flew 14 combat missions over Afghanistan in support of Operation Enduring Freedom.

Between his Middle Eastern deployments, Ediger spent time at the Curacoa Island Air Base, where he also served in support of counter drug operations. In that role, he logged 213 flight hours and aided in the seizure of 3.1 metric tons of narcotics.

He also directed the flight deck mission planning cell, which was vital to the success of 49 counter drug missions and led to nine arrests and nine captured vessels.

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But not all Ediger's service had been abroad. He also piloted seven missions for the movement of former President Barack Obama during Hurricane Sandy relief efforts and the Summit of the Americas' conference.

On Friday, the former Steamboat Springs resident's career reached new heights without him ever leaving the ground, as he was joined by family and coworkers in Laughlin, Texas, to celebrate his promotion from captain to major.

"I did dream of being a pilot when I was a child," Ediger said last week, before his promotion. "I would say the thing that sticks out in my career is my time in the E-3 (AWACS). There have been other unique opportunities that have been offered to me that have allowed me to grow and to be successful. But my time in the E-3 was different, and it was very rewarding."

Friday's ceremony reflected Ediger's numerous accomplishments.

"I spent quite a bit of the ceremony fighting back tears," Paul Ediger said. "I was overcome by the pride that I have in what he has accomplished and the hurdles he has faced."

Ediger earned his commission in 2007 at the University of Colorado, Boulder through the Reserve Officer Training Corps following his graduation from Metropolitan State University in Denver the same year.

He earned his wings at Laughlin Air Force Base in 2009, and after that, his ascent through the ranks of the U.S. Air Force has been steady. He was promoted to first Lieutenant in May 2009 and captain in May 2011.

He graduated with a bachelor of science degree in meteorology from Metropolitan State University in Denver and completed his master’s of business administration degree at Arizona Sate University in 2012, while he was deployed.

Ediger currently serves as exercise chief of the 47th Flying Training Wing at Laughlin Air Force Base in Texas. He is responsible for planning and executing wing-side exercises in an effort to strengthen and improve the wings’ ability to prevent, protect, respond and recover from catastrophic events.

Prior to that assignment, he was transition flight commander, where he led up to 230 student pilots arriving at Laughlin Air Force Base for training.

From 2009 to August 2014, Ediger worked a number of positions at Tinker Air Force Base in Oklahoma. In 2014, he shifted his focus from flying to teaching, spending a short time as a student at Randolph Air Force Base in Texas, then taking on the role of flight scheduler and T-6 Instructor pilot, 434 Flying Squadron, in Laughlin. He was promoted to his current position in July 2016.

In March, he received the XLer award, a weekly award chosen by wing leadership and presented to those who consistently make outstanding contributions to their unit.

Ediger grew up in Steamboat Springs before moving the Breckenridge with his mother after his freshman year of high school. He graduated from Summit High School in spring 2002. His father still lives in Steamboat.

Ediger married his wife, Nicole, in 2012, and the couple welcomed their daughter, Grace, to the world seven months ago. Ediger expects to remain at Laughlin Air Force Base for the foreseeable future, but that hasn't dampened his desire to get back in the air in an E-3 someday.

To reach John F. Russell, call 970-871-4209, email jrussell@SteamboatToday.com or follow him on Twitter @Framp1966

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