Air Force Pilot
Class of 1994
By Keone Adolph
Craig Enriques is a pilot for the United States Air Force. As a captain of a KC-135 Stratotanker, his plane refuels other aircraft while both are still in flight. He was stationed in North Dakota for four years and in Florida for two years, but has also flown over both Iraq and Afghanistan in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom.
Craig’s missions are flown at very high altitudes (21,000 ft. and above), so they are usually not in any danger of being hit. However, their plane was shot at over Afghanistan during Operation Enduring Freedom. During most missions, their plane must meet a bomber or fighter aircraft at a certain location and altitude at a predetermined time. For two to three hours, they remain in the area ready to re-fuel aircraft which are attacking or patrolling their targets. When they run out of fuel or when their mission is complete, their unit returns to their base and lands.
Craig’s unit usually deploys for 60-70 days at a time, compared to other service branches like the Army or Marines, which go on deployment for a year. When on deployment, their unit lives in ten-person tents, or two to a room in what looks like a trailer home. The food isn’t bad and you can usually have all you can eat. Since most of their time is spent flying, their limited free time is spent sleeping, working out in the gym or calling or e-mailing their friends and families.
Craig is a graduate of the United States Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs, where he majored in biology. He then entered pilot training in Florida and Oklahoma before beginning his first assignment as a pilot in North Dakota.
Before being selected to fly the KC-135, he logged over 200 hours of flying. Over the past nine years, he has logged over 2,300 hours. Besides flying experience, an Air Force pilot must remain in good physical shape, which Craig maintains by working out doing push ups, sit ups and 1.5 mile runs.
As an Air Force pilot, Craig has traveled all over the world without having to purchase an airline ticket. He has visited Kyrgyzstan, Qatar, Bahrain, Kuwait, Turkey, England, Malaysia, Singapore, Japan and Ecuador on flying missions with the Air Force. However, the majority of his flying time has been completed in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Although he has met many interesting people on his travels, he misses the opportunity to spend more time with his family and the warm summer beaches in Hawaii. His wife, Jacqueline, is also a pilot, but she flies civilian planes and teaches brand new students how to fly. They have an 18-month old daughter, Acacia.
While a member of Waiakea High’s Class of 1994, Craig played on the boys’ volleyball team. Being an athlete helped Craig physically in his future career.
Craig’s brother, Mark Enriques, is also a pilot in the Air Force. He is a 1999 Waiakea High graduate and 2003 Air Force Academy graduate. Mark currently flies the C-5 “Galaxy” out of Travis Air Force Base in California. The C-5 is the Air Force’s largest transport aircraft with the capability of transporting the equivalent of 10 Greyhound buses. Mark has flown missions delivering cargo into Iraq.