Military airshows capture the attention of children like little else. Kids line up to look at the airplanes, talk with pilots, and find out more about these incredible machines. And who can blame them? There’s no denying that being a military pilot is cool! However, for the past several years the Air Force and Navy have been challenged to attract and keep ample numbers of pilots. Military leadership has described this shortage as severe and acute, and admits the lack of pilots is degrading the country’s ability to fight and project power.
Press reports recently cited Major General Scott Vander Hamm, who is tasked with fixing the Air Force pilot crisis, as saying that his service is authorized to hire 3,500 fighter pilots but falling short of that goal by more than 750 pilots. In addition, in a recent press conference, Pentagon spokesman Commander Gary Ross said the Air Force is currently short approximately 1,500 pilots. In an effort to help mitigate the problem, on 20 October 2017 President Donald Trump signed an executive order that will allow the Air Force to recall pilots from retirement.