Robert G. “Wilbur” Wright scored the first single mission triple victory by a U.S. Air Force pilot since the Korean War. Born in 1962 in Portsmouth, Ohio, he developed a love for military jet fighters at an early age. Accepted to the United States Air Force Academy, his goal was to become a fighter pilot. While at the Academy, Wright pursued his other love – baseball. He was a star pitcher and several professional baseball organizations made him offers. He was tempted, but he turned them down and held fast to his dream of flying. Ironically, a baseball accident in his junior year that nearly kept him from becoming a pilot–a line drive hit him in the head and cost him his pilot slot!
After graduating in 1984, Wright stayed on for two years at the Academy as a Physical Education Instructor and Assistant Baseball Coach. He then moved on to become a Maintenance Officer on Sikorsky MH-53 “Pave Low” helicopters at Hurlburt AFB, Florida. He never gave up on his dream of becoming a fighter pilot, though, and made several trips to Brooks AFB, Texas, in hopes of obtaining that elusive medical waiver. With only six months of eligibility left, the Air Force granted Wright a waiver. One hurdle remained – he still had to compete for a pilot training slot. Success finally came at Columbus AFB, Mississippi, when earned his pilot wings and achieved his dream — an F-16 assignment!
After training at MacDill AFB, Florida, Wright flew the General Dynamics F-16 Fighting Falcon for 14 months at Kunsan AB, Korea. Next, he reported to the 526th Fighter Squadron Black Knights at Ramstein AB, Germany. After the Gulf War, he logged more than 60 combat hours over northern Iraq in support of Operation Provide Comfort. In early 1994, the Black Knights were on temporary duty at Aviano AB, Italy, enforcing the United Nations “no-fly zone” over Bosnia-Herzegovina in Operation Deny Flight. Wright graduated from ACSC in 1996 and was assigned to the Pentagon. He has over 900 hours in the F-16 and is jump qualified.