In the spirit of Veterans Day, CCHS is paying tribute to all those from the Central Catholic community who have served or are serving in the military, including Colleen Slein '13, a 2nd Lieutenant in the US Air Force and graduate of the US Air Force Academy.
Colleen was profiled in the Spring 2019 issue of The Emblem by David DeFillippo '66. as she was training as a fighter pilot. Read that article below.
In addition, Vice Admiral Michael Gilday '80, Chief of US Naval Operations, was profiled on the website this summer.
While we have collected the names of many, we have missed some and have outdated information for others. Please submit additional names and updated information by clicking here.
Chasing the Clouds, Chasing the Dream
2nd Lt. Colleen Slein '13, United States Air Force
For US Air Force 2nd Lieutenant Colleen Slein, CCHS Class of 2013, June 29, 2018 marked a very big step on a challenging and intrepid path. Air Force Lt. Slein, age 23, Salem, NH, a 2017 United States Air Force Academy graduate, stepped onto the flight-line at Sheppard Air Force Base in Wichita Falls, TX, to start training as a U.S. Air Force pilot. Fewer than 5% of Air Force pilots are women. This reality has not deterred Colleen’s dream – a dream which she had firmly set for herself since her earliest years at Central Catholic.
Unbeknownst to her, this Air Force officer-to-be, once at Central Catholic, had begun training physically, intellectually and motivationally for leadership and daunting challenges. Colleen, daughter of Bob and Debra Slein of Salem NH, witnessed the CCHS success of her two older brothers, Brendan '08 and Connor '10, and set out to emulate their example of academic and extracurricular dedication. Always highly conscientious in her studies, including completing 13 Honors and AP level courses, Colleen, term after term, achieved grades which earned her place on the Distinguished and High Honor Roll.
“Everything I learned in my years at Central Catholic has had an impact on who I am and what I’m doing today,” asserts Colleen. “Mr. (Joseph) Welch '90, in my Honors English 3 class and as my track coach, made me understand daily that hard work can bring you so far in this world. Mr. (Robert) Jowett '80 in Honors Anatomy & Physiology class, showed me how to bring focused intensity and detail to my study efforts. In my senior year Calculus class, the depth of the material and the patience taken by my teacher, Mr. (Jarrod) Brown '00, helped me understand the concepts and applications despite mathematics not being my strength. Mr. Brown truly saved my calculus career at the Air Force Academy. Over and above all this, being mentored by Mr. (Christopher) Sullivan ’81 in Central’s Campus Ministry activities, helped me to reflect on the personal importance of a strong faith and the time-tested values which lead to a meaningful life.”
A four-year member and captain of both the Raider Varsity Girls’ Lacrosse team and Girls' Indoor Track teams, Colleen possessed a burning desire, in practice and games, to push herself to perform at her best, and through her competitive spirit, helped to infuse both toughness and unity in teammates.
Leadership was a natural outcome through the example Colleen set by her personal character, integrity and work ethic in areas other than athletics. In each extracurricular activity, leadership found Colleen: National Honor Society officer, Freshman Orientation Coordinator, Retreat and Encounter rector, Peer Leader, Director of Camp Champagnat Leadership Camp and as Editor of the Yearbook. She demonstrated the ideals of Marist student as a “Servant-Leader” with humility and earned distinction as the 2013 recipient of the Brother Florentius, FMS, Memorial Award.
Colleen was inspired to consider a military academy program rather than civilian collegiate programs through family friends. Colleen’s father, Bob, had a friend who attended the US Air Force Academy, and another family friend had a daughter who was studying at the Air Force Academy.
“When I took the opportunity to visit the Academy and see all that it offered in every way, it sealed the deal for me,” she happily explained.
To no one’s surprise at Central Catholic, nor to her family and friends, Colleen‘s capabilities, perseverance and character enabled her to adapt and succeed within the rigor and challenges of the daily academic and military demands at the Air Force Academy. An important question was posed to Colleen by her superior officers at the Academy - that question – “What do you want to do in the Air Force?” Colleen would answer, “I want to be an Air Force pilot.”
As with most everything Colleen has set her sights on, this answer was well-thought out. One of Colleen’s commanding officers was a female pilot who became a mentor and role model. Colleen also spoke with a number of pilots which led to this decision.
“I found all the pilots I met and got to know, unlike their movie stereotype, to be the hardest-working officers, very humble about their leadership, quietly confident in completing any mission assigned, knowing they were the best for the job because of their intense training and tireless work ethic. Everything they said felt so right and true inside me.”
Cleared for Take-Off
Air Force 2nd Lieutenant Colleen Slein can be found training in the classrooms and on the flight-line at Sheppard Air Force Base, TX.
The first phase of training included 5 weeks of intensive academic study, 12 hours a day, studying aerospace physiology, aircraft systems, aerodynamics, flying fundamentals, instrumentation and weather,
followed by hours in flight simulators and 13 exams required to be passed before being allowed to move on. Phase 2 includes 200 more hours of ground training, 34 simulator flights, 78 flights with instructors practicing practiced take-offs and landings and check-rides with instructor-pilots in a T-6 prop aircraft.
On October 1 (2018), Lt. Colleen Slein was cleared through all these stages and took her first solo flight in the T-6 aircraft.
“I was humbled by and grateful for the opportunity to solo in this aircraft, and I’m looking forward to many more hours, days, months and years of chasing the clouds and my dream.”
Phase 3 of Colleen’s pilot training involves learning to fly the T-38, a much faster aircraft which performs just as an operational fighter jet. This training requires 24 more weeks with 134 hours of ground training, 36 simulator flights and 79 practice flights and check-rides.
At the conclusion of Phase 3, if successful with all aspects of this training, Lt. Slein will earn her wings as a T-38 pilot. The Air Force will then assign Lt. Slein with an operational aircraft based on US Air Force demands. Future training will involve learning to fly in formation and then advancing to specialized aircraft flown by the Air Force.
Academy trained Air Force pilots go on to serve a minimum 10-years in the Air Force.
“I’m excited to be on my Air Force path. It’s a humbling experience to be where I am today. Central Catholic set the foundation and prepared me well in time and stress management, the science and engineering mindset, the depth of subject matter as well as the leadership experience that is necessary for pilot training. I would encourage Central Catholic students to chase their dreams, no matter how challenging the dream. The tools you need to accomplish your dreams are at CCHS every day.”
Call of Faith and Duty
Many members of the Central Catholic community have served and are serving our nation through the US Armed Forces.
To honor their sacrifices, we have established Call of Faith & Duty: A Tribute to Veterans.
Our goal is to recognize the many alumni who have served or are serving our nation. We are working to identify those graduates who are veterans, who are currently serving in the military, or who are attending military schools and academies.
Please take a look at the list to recognize their service and to let us know if anyone is missing from the current listing.
Thank you to all those who have served or are currently serving our nation in the armed forces!