Indian American Air Transportation Specialist Basu Roy Living 'American Dream' with Air Force – India West


Airman 1st Class Sourav Basu Roy, an air transportation specialist assigned to the 482nd Fighter Wing at Homestead Air Reserve Base and a commercial airline pilot, is living the American dream, the U.S. Air Force said in a Nov. 22 news release.

Born and raised in the small, mountainous and underdeveloped city of Agartala, India, Roy had big dreams as a little boy, and, thankfully, parents who encouraged him to shoot for the stars, the report notes.

“My childhood dream was to be an astronaut someday,” he said in the report. “But, in my society, there was so much prejudice that not many people supported me, except my parents.”

He recalled writing an essay on his life goals when he was just 6 years old and receiving an unusual reaction from his teacher about his future aspirations, the Air Force report said.

“I wrote an essay saying I would like to be an astronaut and how I would start by being a pilot,” he added. “But my teacher got mad at me. She thought I was being a daydreamer even though I was a good student at the time. She spanked my hands with a bamboo stick until my palms got red. She even made fun of me with a few other teachers. But I believe those kinds of experiences made me a strong and successful person today.”

Unlike his teacher, Roy’s parents supported his dreams.

“I remember my parents said, ‘if you dream big over here, people will think you are crazy. We will work very hard and save money so we can send you to the only land of opportunity, which is the United States of America. Nobody will judge you there. You will have enormous opportunities and freedom.’”

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He continued to do well in school and he never lost his passion for aviation and space.

“I remember myself playing with paper airplanes and pretending to be a pilot as a child. Many of my friends did the same,” he went on about his story. “Our paper aircrafts competed, formed flying squadrons, and participated in important air missions. Years passed by, and while my friends moved on with their dreams and changed the love for the games in the air for other interests, I realized that my passion for aviation and space is a lifetime crush.”

When he was 18, his parents decided it was time to send him to the United States.

Within 19 days of arriving in the U.S., Roy began flight training. Having spent endless hours on a computer-based flight simulator growing up in India, he was well prepared for the actual training, the report notes.

He did his first solo flight when he was 19 and he passed his first exam for his private pilot’s license with flying colors. He received his instrument rating and his commercial pilot’s license in only six months.

With his pilot certificates in hand, he enrolled at Miami Dade College to work on his associate’s degree and began working toward his certified flight instructor rating, his bio notes.

He earned an Associate of Science degree in pilot technology and a Bachelor of Science degree in information technology as a distinguished graduate while simultaneously pursuing his aviation career, it said.

An accomplished flight instructor, Roy accepted a job with Air Wisconsin Airlines, a regional partner of United Airlines.

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He became an airline captain at age 24, then Roy turned his attention to reaching his lifelong dream of becoming an astronaut, the report noted.

“I applied for the U.S. Navy in 2016, thinking that someday it will open a pathway for me to apply for Test Pilot School, which will make it easier for me to one day be a NASA astronaut,” he said.

During his application process, the Navy stopped recruiting people without a residency card due to a government directive. Undeterred, Roy continued to look for a way to chase his dreams of becoming an astronaut and serve his country.

Since he is not an American citizen yet, he is not eligible to be an Air Force pilot. But he talked to an Air Force recruiter who explained that he could enlist. He set his sights on joining the Air Force Reserve.

Roy was all set to join the Reserve in late 2019, when an opportunity he couldn’t refuse came up. He received an offer from United Airlines to transfer from the regional carrier to the main airline.

When the COVID-19 pandemic hit and the commercial aviation industry suffered a major slowdown, Roy’s position at United was put on hold and he thought it would be the perfect time to begin his military career, the report noted.



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