Vance student pilot takes a break from training to intern at the White House

  • Published
  • By 2nd Lt. Christopher Guerra
  • 71st Flying Training Wing Public Affairs

VANCE AIR FORCE BASE, Okla. -- It is not often that officers awaiting world-class pilot training at Vance Air Force Base have the chance to work at the White House. 

2nd Lt. Maxwell Moawad, with the 71st Student Squadron, was selected to be an intern with the Office of Management and Administration at the White House, beginning January 2024. 

Having the chance to work in the White House is a rare opportunity. Being surrounded by and learning from the highest-ranking decision makers in the nation is something Moawad said he is looking forward to.

The lieutenant applied for the job while in an internship program at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, California, while he was awaiting to enter active duty following graduation from Miami University in Ohio in May 2023.

While at the laboratory, Moawad worked on global security research focused on bridging political science with science, technology, engineering and math. While working there, a mentor encouraged him to explore the White House Internship Program.

As a recently graduated Air Force Reserve Officers’ Training Corps cadet, with a major in political science, Moawad saw the internship as a chance to grow as an officer in the Air Force. 

As pilots earn rank, they eventually fly less and lead more, he said. By learning how to think critically at a strategic level, he hopes to better understand the actions of pilots at the tactical level, he said. 

“I am impressed that such a young officer is seeking out other opportunities,” said Maj. Everett Scott, the commander of the Officer Awaiting Pilot Training Flight in the 71st STUS. “Officers should not limit themselves to flying. These kinds of opportunities will help them grow as an officer and as a person.”

When he returns to pilot training, Moawad will be a more well-rounded officer with a broader perspective beyond the flying community, Scott said. 

“I am thankful that leadership supported my internship,” Moawad said. He said that learning about the business of the White House will help him better understand how important decisions made at the national level affect him as an officer.

“Undergraduate Pilot Training is just a fraction of a young officer’s career,” said Col. Charles D. Throckmorton IV, the commander of the 71st Flying Training Wing at Vance. “Opportunities that broaden and prepare young officers to lead make us stronger as an Air Force and help us continue to deliver world-class pilots for the nation.”