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Home » Newspaper News

Sergeant Sparkman shares his experiences with Air Force One

March 20, 2014
James F Byrnes Freshman Academy

Sergeant Sparkman, AFJROTC instructor at Byrnes Freshman Academy (BFA) has come to be known as “energetic, exuberant, friendly, and definitely involved in school,” according to Steven Craycraft, teacher at BFA who speaks with Sparkman several times a week.

Sparkman was a flight engineer for Air Force One for 23 years and also provided his services in the military. His experience includes prestigious assignments like flying for Air Force Two and flying C-141, WC-135, TC-135, OC-135, KC-135, VC-32, Boeing 707, and Boeing 747.

Air Force One is the official airplane for the United States President. Air Force Two is for the U.S. Vice President and First Lady.

Through his occupations, Sparkman has had the opportunity of visiting all 50 states, 130 countries and 6 continents. “…all except Antarctica – which is on my bucket list,” Sparkman added.

Among his many travels, Australia was one of his favorite destinations.

“I didn’t like being overseas for only a few hours though, such as the two-day trips to Europe,” he said of his least favorite experience while with Air Force One.

Tommy Johnson, a student of Sparkman’s, said, “[Sparkman was] one of the best and most interesting teachers I’ve had. I’ve learned a lot of life lessons from him, too. It was more than just a class.”

Another interesting aspect of Sparkman’s past jobs includes flying John Travolta to a chosen destination, “He and his wife are very intelligent and he is just like anyone else. He has just used his opportunities.”

Sparkman also recalled, “I even remember I had called him ‘Mr. Travolta’ at one point, and he had politely corrected me saying to only call him John. It made him feel like I was calling his dad when I addressed him that way.”

With the skill of working for Air Force One and Air Force Two for 10 years, his involvement in the military and among many other jobs for 20 years, Sparkman has acquired the knowledge and background necessary to tackle any situation thrown at him in the comfort of his classroom. However, he still finds himself amazed and surprised by his students each day. 

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