Jeff Brandon of Madera is going to Misawa Air Base in Japan after completing extensive jet fighter training. Before leaving for his next duty station, he returned to visit his father, John and step-mother Camille for a few days.
Brandon graduated from Madera High School in 2004 and played on the Coyote golf, football and water polo teams. Majoring in geography, he graduated from Fresno State University in 2011. Wanting to fly throughout his life, Brandon joined the Air Force Reserve Officer Training Corps.
Brandon was commissioned a 2nd lieutenant on Jan. 6, 2011. A week later he was assigned to Maxwell Air Force Base in Montgomery, Ala., to learn the basics of being an officer. After six weeks, he was assigned to Columbus Air Force Base in Mississippi and then to Pueblo, Colo., for his first testing to see if he was capable of becoming a jet pilot. In Colorado, he flew propeller-driven trainer aircraft for many hours to practice steep turns, takeoffs and landings.
He returned to Columbus, Miss., on May 18, 2011, for additional flight training. In November of that year, Brandon finally climbed into the front seat of a jet trainer, a T-38, with his instructor in the rear seat. From there it was onto “Introduction to Fighter Fundamentals” instruction...