Lexington native Colonel Michael Trey Rawls entered the Air Force in 1992 as a distinguished graduate from the University of Kentucky. Today, he is the Cammander, 435th Air Ground Operations Wing (EUCOM) and the 435th Air Expediationary Wing (AFRICOM) at Ramstein Air Base in Germany.
Describe a day in the life of an US Air Force General.
The good ones, at a philosophical level, lead, command and inspire their subordinates everyday to achieve their mission as set out by the President. At a practical level, they look after their subordinate commanders, provide direction and vision on how to execute specific missions and improve the quality of life for the airmen entrusted to their care.
Any advice for kids in Kentucky who want to grow up to be a fighter pilot in the Air Force?
Pursue whatever dream you might have, be it fighter pilot or otherwise, with relentless ambition as if your life depended on it. Dream big, audacious dreams and be willing to go out on a limb to pursue your passions…that is where all the fruit is.
What’s the coolest thing about being a fighter pilot?
Everyday as an Air Force fighter pilot you get to test yourself against the very best, most talented people in the world. You always feel connected to a sense of purpose and you are surrounded by a constant pursuit of excellence. I have never been a part of any organization with as many talented people as exist in US Air Force Fighter Squadrons.
What is the most challenging part of being so far away from your Old Kentucky Home?
Being away from home is the hardest part of being away from home. I have lived in 10 states and 4 countries and spent much of my adult life in some of the tough neighborhoods of the world. Kentucky is and always will be where my heart is and I miss it.
When you get to come home to Kentucky, what are some of your favorite things to do?
The perfect day for me, and the one I often think about is a perfect blue Saturday in the fall at Keeneland, followed by tailgating and a night football game. I also miss fishing on all my favorite lakes and streams around central Kentucky with my brothers and friends.