At a March 7 black-tie Laureate Awards gala in Washington, D.C., 2009 Anoka High School graduate Erik William Oredson, cadet first class, United States Coast Guard Academy, received a prestigious Tomorrow’s Leader Award, presented by Aviation Week, a division of McGraw-Hill Companies.
“The achievements we celebrate at the Laureate Awards embody the spirit of exploration, innovation and vision that inspire others to strive for significant, broad-reaching progress in aviation, aerospace and defense,” said Aviation Week and Space Technology Editor-in-Chief Joseph C. Anselmo.
“We are proud to recognize and celebrate the winners’ accomplishments, as well as the accomplishments of all the other Laureate Award finalists from which they were chosen.”
Oredson’s father had served the country in the U.S. Coast Guard and as Oredson got set to graduate high school, he took a giant step toward following in his dad’s footsteps.
After graduating high school with highest honors, Oredson applied for and was selected to attend the U.S. Coast Guard Academy.
“I didn’t really expect that I would get selected as it is very competitive, but somehow I did, and though I was a bit nervous, I could not turn down such a great opportunity,” Oredson said.
The Tomorrow’s Leader Award winner also expressed his eagerness to complete his studies at the academy “and become a part of the operational Coast Guard.”
“I will finally get a chance to pay back the country that has invested so much in me and all of my classmates,” Oredson said.
While at the academy, Oredson is majoring in operations research, which makes sense since his favorite subject areas in high school were math and science, and operations research is essentially applied math.
“The academy also has a rigorous core curriculum for every student including chemistry, physics, engineering and calculus and I think Anoka High School prepared me well for those courses,” Oredson said.
Oredson is also a member of the U.S. Coast Guard Academy men’s tennis team, president of the Astronomy Club and an active member of the Aviation Club.
In high school Oredson was involved in the music program, playing in the concert band, marching band, jazz band, concert orchestra and pit orchestra. He also participated in theater, played tennis and was an officer in the AHS National Honor Society.
Currently serving as the U.S. Coast Guard Academy’s Echo Company Commander, Oredson is the highest ranking senior cadet in that company and is responsible for the transportation needs of the corps and all external affairs events. Additionally, Oredson handles personnel issues and makes sure all cadets are performing to standards.
On completing his studies at the academy and graduating May 22, Oredson plans to attend flight school in Pensacola, Fla., and hopes to train to become a helicopter pilot for the MH-60 Jayhawk, a helicopter specifically made for the Coast Guard.
The Jayhawk is most notably used for search and rescue, but can also be used for law enforcement and other Coast Guard missions.
“Hopefully, I will get my first choice flying the Jayhawk, but I am just excited I got selected for flight school at all and will be happy to fly any aircraft for the Coast Guard – plane or helicopter,” Oredson said.
Other armed services cadets honored as tomorrow’s leaders at the March 7 gala include Zachary Howard Adams, cadet first class, United States Air Force Academy; Matthew George Gallup, cadet lieutenant, United States Military Academy; and Benjamin Lee Putbrese, midshipman first class, United States Naval Academy.
Complete coverage of the Laureate Awards will be available in the March 25 issue of “Aviation Week & Space Technology” and is www.aviationweek.com.
Sue Austreng is at [email protected]