2014 Pulitzer Prize Winner

Ben Garland passes on pilot training with NFL dreams alive

Published: March 31, 2011, 9:42 am, by admin

Ben Garland’s decision – try to make the NFL or enter pilot training – was something that has been weighing on his mind for months. When the former Air Force nose tackle was in training camp with the Denver Broncos last August, his decision even got some national attention.

Garland won’t enter pilot training for the Air Force. He has received his reclassification to public affairs and is assigned to the academy’s athletic department, spokesman Troy Garnhart said. He is currently an instructor in the physical education department, one of 11 instructors responsible for teaching physical education classes, fitness testing and evaluations. There are 31 military personnel, ranging from second lieutenant to colonel, in the physical education department, Garnhart said. That reclassification will allow him to continue pursuing his dream of playing in the NFL with the Broncos, who kept him on the military/reserve list last season.

Garland’s assignment is for three years and his next stop will be in public affairs, which is his career field, but in a year he can request to the Department of Defense to have the final three years of his military commitment become six years of reserve duty, which is allowed if he has a signed pro contract. Chad Hall did that last year, and played last season with the NFL’s Philadelphia Eagles.

I will try to catch up with Garland today to get his thoughts on what had to be a difficult decision between two good options.