Don P. Hursey

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Major/Airplane
and Helicopter Pilot
United States Army
The Pentagon
Washington, D.C.
Age: 39

Major Don P. Hursey was destined to
join the military. “Service runs in the veins on both sides of my family,” says Major Hursey, 39, a decorated Army officer, who serves in both Aviation and Military Intelligence. He is enrolled in a highly selective three-year fellowship program that entails spending a year at Georgetown University obtaining a master’s degree in policy management, a year working on the Secretary of Defense’s staff, and a third year assigned to the Army staff at the Pentagon.

His military prowess and honors aside, Hursey knows his way around the kitchen. “I can cook anything,” he says. His mother taught him to cook before she fell ill. When she became bedridden in the mid-1980s, his father took over as the family caregiver. “I have no problem serving as  both the caregiver and on the battlefield.” says Hursey.

Hursey served as a Green Beret for three years before attending Jackson State University in 1994. Swayed by a visit from two of the school’s alumni who were both African-American pilots, he switched his commissioning branch from Infantry to Aviation recognizing that there were endless opportunities and ways in which one could serve. “Talking to them changed my view of things,” he explains.

After graduating, cum laude, in 1998, he joined the U.S. Army and learned to fly various types of military aircraft. Since then, he has enjoyed a career that puts him on the battlefield, commanding troops, participating at a foreign policy think tank and serving at the Pentagon. “I hope to be blessed with many more years serving my country in uniform,” he says. “In his post-military life, he would like to teach underserved children how to fly. “This way, I get to do the two things that I love,” he says.

Fun Facts
Favorite book:
“My American Journey” by Colin Powell
Favorite comedian: Bill Cosby
First car: Yugo