Faces of Utah - Capt. Nathan Cragun

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U.S. Air Force Captain Nathan Cragun, executive officer and pilot with the 191st Air Refueling Squadron has served over 16 years and has flown over 700 hours in the Utah Air National Guard. Navigating the formidable KC-135 Stratotanker, a pivotal player in global air refueling.

Cragun's aviation roots are profound, with his father serving as a KC-135 pilot in the Utah Air National Guard. His formative years involved frequent visits to the base, kindling an aspiration to follow in his father's footsteps and operate the same aircraft. His passion for history and his aspiration to carry forward a familial legacy ignited an unyielding pursuit of his dreams.

"Being part of the Guard is like being part of a family, but one that you'll belong to for 15 to 20 years, if not more," said Cragun. "The relationships you build here are invaluable."

He started his military career in the 169th Intelligence Surveillance Reconnaissance Squadron. Using the educational opportunities offered by the Guard, he obtained his degree and a private pilot's license, becoming a KC-135 pilot in 2017.

Captain Cragun envisions a blend of military service and ambitions in the commercial airline sector.

As a pilot, he characterizes his duty as contributing to local base operations and global occurrences, from aerial refueling to humanitarian operations or even conflict responses.

Cragun's advice, aimed mainly at students, is to prioritize their education. He highlights the value of military skills, enduring relationships, and a long-term commitment to a unit, which can serve as a foundation for success, especially in the Utah Air National Guard.

"The military isn't just about conflict; it's about making a positive impact on the world during times of crisis and change," said Cragun. "The KC-135 Stratotanker is not just a military asset; it's a symbol of the Guard's commitment to defending and supporting our nation and the world."