Five Questions with Ben Coopmans


Jack Weaver

At the Sept. 11, 2019 Patriot Ceremony, Ben Coopmans stands at attention.

Sophia Scheller

Junior Ben Coopmans has been in the Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps (JROTC) program since his freshman year at Lafayette. He recently was awarded the Air Force JROTC Flight Academy scholarship which will allow him to earn his private pilot license.

How did you become involved in JROTC?

I [have] always had my eyes on service. JROTC is a way to show my dedication to my country early and unlock the numerous opportunities that the program offers.

What’s the most interesting memory that you made while in JROTC?

The most interesting memory for me was participating in a color guard at the Dome at America’s Center for the AMA Supercross. Presenting the colors in front of tens of thousands of people and representation the Corps is an experience I will never forget.

You recently earned a scholarship to get your private pilot license. What went into earning that and what will you learn while in the program?

First, I had to meet a baseline GPA requirement [3.00]. Next, I had character recommendations from [Mandy] Lewis and Colonel Smith. Lastly, I took an Aviation Qualifying Test. I will learn the skills necessary to earn my private pilot’s license.

What is the most rewarding thing about JROTC?

For me, it’s the opportunity to participate in a program like Flight Academy. I would have never been given a chance to pursue my dream of flying like this from anywhere else.

What are your plans for the future with flying?

I plan to attend Flight School after my tenure at the Air Force Academy. Then I [plan to] fly for the Air Force, then maybe move into commercial piloting.