Stage is set for Tyler Pryor's career with the U.S. Coast Guard

Kesha Williams
May 20, 2015

Tyler Pryor, a native of Murfreesboro, N.C., was recently accepted to the U.S. Coast Guard's Wilks Flight Initiative program. That program targets college students already enrolled in the Coast Guard's College Student Pre-Commissioning Initiative (CSPI) program. Applicants selected for the Wilks Flight Initiative pursue rigorous training to become a Coast Guard pilot following graduation from college and officer candidate school. According to the Office of Coast Guard Recruitment Command in Washington D.C., Pryor was the only one selected this year for the Wilks Flight Initiative (WiFI) program. Originated in 2012, this program commemorates Captain Bobby Charles C. Wilks--the first African-American Coast Guard Aviator, the first African American to reach the rank of Captain, and the first African American to command a Coast Guard Air Station. The WiFI program ensures Pryor an appointment to flight school and subsequent assignment as a Coast Guard pilot. Upon successful completion of CSPI and Officer Candidate School (OCS), Pryor is expected to start his training in Pensacola, Fla., in Dec 2015. ECSU Chancellor Stacey Franklin Jones was pleased with the progress of this aviation science major who graduated from the university on May 9. "This is quite an accomplishment and we are extremely proud of Tyler," said Jones. Pryor said he is excited to begin the career that has appealed to him for years. "In the Coast Guard, I will have the opportunity to save people who need to be saved, to make a positive impact on the world, and to protect my country," Pryor said. "It was a blessing to come to ECSU because I would not have gotten this opportunity to earn a bachelor's degree in aviation science anywhere else in North Carolina, then to begin serving in the Coast Guard. Other students should get the education ECSU offers," Pryor said. Dr. Kuldeep Rawat, chairperson of ECSU's a Technology Department and director of the university's Aviation Science program said Pryor received his initial flight training as an aviation science student. He will join five, former aviation science majors now serving as aviators in the military.