Bombs Away for Major Knight!

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Major Mark Knight is one of many influential teachers who float around Ball High School unbeknownst to the students around them. Major Knight has led a life of excitement patrolling foreign lands and piloting Medevacs (Medical Evacuations) in grey, war-torn skies. He continues his journey as a disciplined man of combat through teaching JROTC at Ball High School.

Ironically, Major Knight was born in an Army hospital in Seattle, Washington. His father, an enlisted Air Force officer (as a Career Air Force Navigator) met Knight’s mother while stationed in Seattle. After he was born, Knight’s family migrated to Southern California and resided in the small Portuguese town, Nevado, where Knight spent his childhood.

At the cusp of Knight’s adolescence, he joined the Army Reserves as a Medic and worked at Letterman Army Medical Center in San Francisco, California on his reserve weekends while also working part-time. After realizing how comfortable he felt as a Medic, Knight went to college, took an EMT course, and got his EMT license for the state of California. After receiving his certificate, Knight drove himself to earn a degree in Athletic Medicine.

During this time, Knight met a recruiter who told him that if he was interested, after graduating college he could have the opportunity to become an officer. After debating it, Knight enlisted in the infantry, headed to Fort Benning, Georgia and inquired about the officer position, but he decided against it and ended up heading to the Rangers to become an infantryman. Out of the two hundred and thirty people who applied, Knight was one of twenty-three accepted to graduate to Airborne School.

After his short-lived career in the Rangers, Knight sought after something different and received word from a friend about a program called the Warrant Officer Flight Program, which would enable him to go to flight school after a certain amount of time and become an Air Force Pilot. He applied during chaotic times in between his deployments and they accepted him almost immediately; his road had taken another vicarious turn.

After completing flight school, Knight deployed to the very place he hoped they would not station him: Fort Riley, Kansas. “It was probably my family’s most enjoyable time, I’d married my high school sweetheart soon after going into the Rangers and we had our first baby and it was just beautiful there and we had a house that was right across from the Buffalo Corral down the street from George Custer’s house,” said Major Knight.

Knight’s career had seemingly just begun because soon after his position as an Assistant Operations Officer ended, he deployed to Germany to fly VIP for their Commanding General, Bosnia for six months as a co-pilot, two years later to Kosova where he flew for six months as the Pilot in Command for the Commanding General of the American Forces.

“Last to know first to go soon became our motto. . .” recounts Knight when he spoke of the spontaneity of his and his mates’ deployments.

Knight and his medevac team were the second in the country into Kuwait on the buildup for the war with Iraq. Knight’s team automatically became the medevac for the hurt and injured of the U.S. Infantry third division.

“It doesn’t matter: civilians, enemy, we’re going to medevac anyone who is injured,” humbly stated Knight.

In March of 2003, the air war started for Iraq and Knight and his team were still in Kuwait until they received marching orders to go to Nazureah, the joining of the Tigris and Euphrates Rivers, and known by few as the Garden of Eden.

“As soon as we put our helicopters down this storm came and I swear to you I’ve never seen a blood red sky like that in my day and it was coming at us like a rolling tube all the way from one side to the other and coming right at us. Within no time at all the wind must have hit one hundred miles an hour . . . I could actually stand in the wind at a forty-five-degree angle. . . and I remember saying to myself ‘this is pretty Biblical’.”

After his other-worldly experience, Knight was asked to lead the first aviation forces onto the Baghdad International where he witnessed the firearms of multiple sides and the first-hand fatalities that accompany war.

Major Knight, Ball High thanks you for your service to our country and for training the future officers of America and enabling them with the skills they need.

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