Three generations of Air Force pilots -- the Wasserstrom legacy

  • Published
  • By Capt. Adam Wasserstrom
  • 33rd Flying Training Squadron

VANCE AIR FORCE BASE, Okla. -- I am Capt. Adam Wasserstrom, a first assignment instructor pilot (FAIP) training Undergraduate Pilot Training students to fly the T-6A Texan II.

I help students achieve their dreams and earn their Air Force pilot wings.

I am not the first Wasserstrom to be a pilot in the Air Force. Nor am I the second. I am a third-generation Air Force pilot, and second-generation FAIP.

My grandpa, Lt. Col. Daniel Wasserstrom, graduated from pilot training at Vance in 1961. He was even married in the Vance Chapel that still stands today. 

He went through pilot training flying the T-34 Mentor, T-37 Tweet, and then the T-33 Shooting Star. Grandpa served in the Air Force for 26 years.

My dad, Maj. Eric Wasserstrom, attended pilot training at Vance in 1987. He flew the T-37 followed by the T-38 Talon. After graduation, he was chosen to become a FAIP in the T-38 and served for 13 years.

My brother, Reese Wasserstrom, was born here in Enid’s St. Mary’s Hospital in 1992. 

Then there’s me.

I graduated UPT in 2020 as part of Class 20-10, having flown the T-6 as well as the T-1. I was selected as a FAIP in the T-6.

Three generations of Wasserstroms flying six different Air Force trainer aircraft is our legacy.

The Air Force’s core values are: Integrity First, Service Before Self, and Excellence In All We Do. This aligns with how I’ve chosen to live my life. Military values became my family values. And these values carry me through life. I credit them for helping me with the success I have achieved.

I did not accept a commission in the U.S. Air Force to continue the family business. I joined primarily out of a sense of duty to serve my nation, to experience new places and cultures and to work with people from vastly different walks of life.

The Air Force allowed me to make incredible connections as well. I met my beautiful wife, Capt. Denise Wasserstrom, through the Air Force. She is an Aerospace Physiologist training pilots to recognize and avoid hypoxia and other hazards of flying. I asked her a question in class one day, and the rest is history.

Family heritage is important. That heritage has the potential to propel people further than they ever thought possible. Accomplishing anything alone is challenging. Thankfully I had the support of my family all along the way.

Sir Isaac Newton said, “If I have seen further, it is by standing upon the shoulders of giants.” Thanks to my family, the view is mighty nice from up here.