Parents' Stories

Like Father, Like Son

A father watches his son's career take flight in the Air National Guard.

Like Father Like Son

A Family Focused on Flight

Dennis Costello had always valued the career training he received during his seven years in the Air Force. After he retired, he became a civilian air traffic controller and a private pilot, and he believed that he wouldn’t have had such good career opportunities if he hadn’t joined the Military.

When Dennis noticed that his son John had inherited his passion for planes, he was thrilled. Dennis said, “He wanted to be a pilot because like father, like son. He’s been airplane-crazy since he was a kid.”

Since John wanted to be a pilot, Dennis decided to talk to him about joining the Military. Dennis had a military background, and John’s older siblings had joined the Marine Corps, so Dennis thought John might be interested. Dennis said, “If you’re a young person and you’re looking to have a career and a sense of well-being and a sense that you’re on the right track, the Military will take care of you.”

Skills for a Civilian Career

Dennis also thought that the Military would help put John in a good position for a career as a civilian pilot. Through the Military, John would be able to fly some of the larger planes, build up his flying hours and save money while earning his licenses. Dennis said, “I suggested that it would be a great way to serve his country, as well as to get the skills he would need to learn how to fly. If you come out of the Air National Guard, [the airlines are] more than happy to open up the welcome mat for you.”

John was excited by the idea, and he and Dennis visited their local Air National Guard recruiter. John came prepared with a list of questions about rank, benefits and requirements for pilot training. Dennis was so impressed by the responses he heard from the Air National Guard recruiter that he said, “If I had to do it over again, I think that’s the way I’d do it, but I would hate to trade the travel.”

After John enlisted, Dennis shared some of his own experiences in Basic Training, and father and son began exercising together. Dennis said, “We did some camping, and we did some hikes to get him physically prepared. I told him what to expect. Basic Training hasn’t changed a whole lot since I went through.”

On the Path to Success

Once John completed his Basic Training and his officer training, Dennis saw that his son had changed into a “more driven type of individual.” In fact, Dennis noticed that his children went through similar transformations: “What I saw instantly was a definite change in physique, as well as the way that they talked. They focused and they thought about things before they said it.” Instead of floating through life or hopping from job to job, each of his children knew what they wanted and knew what they could accomplish if they applied themselves.

John is now beginning his flight training and is on track to achieving his dreams of being a pilot. Dennis is pleased that his son is getting to enjoy the same opportunities as he did during his time in military service. As he says, “There’s more to the Military than just conflicts. It’s a lifestyle. It’s a way to learn. It’s a way to grow daily.”