2013 Distinguished Alumni Award Recipient — Lt. Col. Gavin D. Tade
UCM President Chuck Ambrose, left, and UCM Alumni Association Board President Jennifer Maijala '01 present the 2013 UCM Distinguished Alumni Award to Lt. Col. Gavin D. Tade.
"Crossing into Iraq, preparing my weapon system, I remembered the training I had received at Skyhaven Airport in Warrensburg, Mo., and that was to aviate, navigate and communicate," said Lieutenant Colonel Tade acknowledging UCM for preparing him for his career in the Air National Guard. Tade received his Bachelor of Science degree in Aviation Technology from UCM in 1994. He was honored Oct. 25, 2013, and presented the 2013 UCM Alumni Association Distinguished Alumni Award.
Following graduation, he started his career with the Iowa Air National Guard. After completing the Air National Guard Academy of Military Science, he began pilot training in Texas at Reese Air Force Base where he earned his wings. As a commanding officer, Tade has protected our country during multiple deployments in countries like Iraq, Kuwait and Turkey. "Gavin represents the very best our nation has to offer. He is a superb human being, exceptional husband and father, and a dedicated servant to his nation," said Colonel Keith Knudson, a friend of Tade.
While serving our country, Tade has acquired prestigious awards and decorations for his service. He has received the Air Force Achievemnet Medal, the Outstanding Unit Award, the Combat Readiness Medal and the Reserve Medal. He has spent many years as an instructor on different aircraft platforms, including the F-16. He became a test pilot for NASA in 2010.
Tade credits UCM for giving him the experience needed to become a successful pilot and leader. "There is no doubt in my mind the lessons of 'learning to a greater degree' that I received at UCM will make me into a Commander. Now, I am charged with passing those learning experiences that I received at UCM to our next generation of leaders."
Today, Tade is commander of the 73rd Aerial Port Squadron at Naval Air Station Fort Worth Joint Reserve Base, Texas. Squadron commander is the highest honor the Air Force awards.