The Tailhook Educational Foundation

2017 Scholarships


Tailhook Educational Foundation awardee of the THE “TRADER JON” 
MEMORIAL SCHOLARSHIP - Jacob Mercer

THE “TRADER JON”
MEMORIAL SCHOLARSHIP

Sponsored by the Friends of Martin “Trader Jon” Weissman

Martin Weissman and his wife Jackii moved to Pensacola, Florida in 1953, bought a small tavern they named “Trader Jon’s” and started a legend. His countless friends showered him with aviation memorabilia that transformed Trader Jon’s into an aviation shrine. A staunch supporter of Naval Aviation and the city of Pensacola, he was the Blue Angels’ biggest fan. Mr. Weissman is remembered for his unique contribution to Naval Aviation. He died in February 2000 at the age of 84.

Jacob Mercer


Franklin, Tennessee

• Accepted to Purdue University

Tailhook Educational Foundation awardee of the LT NICK BENSON MEMORIAL SCHOLARSHIP - Lani Dufresne

LT NICK BENSON
MEMORIAL SCHOLARSHIP

Sponsored by CAPT Eric and Barb Benson and Friends of
LT Stephen Nicklous “Nick” Benson

This scholarship is awarded in memory of LT Nick Benson, USNR, who was killed 18 October 2002 when his FA-18F Super Hornet was involved in a midair collision off the California coast. Nick was from Virginia Beach, Virginia and graduated from Oklahoma State University in 1998. After commissioning through AOCS, he earned his NFO wings and joined VF-41 flying F-14s. He participated in Operation Enduring Freedom over Afghanistan before transitioning to the Super Hornet. Nick was a special young man who made a difference and is greatly missed.

Lani Dufresne


Dallas, Texas

• Accepted to Northwestern University

Tailhook Educational Foundation awardee of the THE CDR GLEN “LEFTY” HANSEN SCHOLARSHIP - Claire Rochford

THE CDR GLEN “LEFTY” HANSEN
SCHOLARSHIP

Sponsored by CAPT Mindy Suszan, USN

Glen was a graduate of U.S. Naval Academy and Naval Aviator. During his career, he was assigned to the VA-95 Green Lizards, VFA-81 Sunliners and VFA-87 Golden Warriors. He deployed in USS Abraham Lincoln (CVN-72), Enterprise (CVN-65) and Theodore Roosevelt (CVN-71). With numerous combat missions over Iraq and the former Republic of Yugoslavia, Lefty was individually recognized for delivering the first USN combat load in Kosovo. He earned a master’s degree in strategic studies from the Army War College and two additional master’s degrees in business. His dream was to establish a scholarship to help children within our community realize their potential, to continue the growth and progress that makes America great and to improve the world in which we live.

Claire Rochford


Colorado Springs, Colorado

•Accepted to University of Oklahoma

Tailhook Educational Foundation awardee of the FIGHTER PILOT RED SCHOLARSHIP - Lillian Furey

FIGHTER PILOT RED SCHOLARSHIP

Sponsored by Bella Luna Winery, Sherman Smoot and Kevin Healy, owners

This scholarship is in honor of courageous Naval Aviators who put themselves in harm’s way in defense of our great nation. As veterans, this is our way to thank all who support our small business and us.

Lillian Furey


Winter Park, Florida

• Florida Southern College

Tailhook Educational Foundation awardee of the ICHARD C. “SWEETPEA” ALLEN MEMORIAL SCHOLARSHIP - Zachary Moody

VADM RICHARD C. “SWEETPEA” ALLEN
MEMORIAL SCHOLARSHIP

Sponsored by Global Exposition Services (GES)
— The Tailhook Association exhibitor coordinator —

- Providing exhibition and event services in every major market across the globe -
Richard C. Allen enlisted in the Naval Aviation Cadet program in 1959. He was commissioned an ensign and designated a Naval Aviator in 1960 and a Naval Flight Officer in 1971. A graduate of Naval Postgraduate School with a bachelor’s degree in engineering science, he also completed the Armed Forces Staff College and National Defense University Capstone Training. He was selected for initial flag officer assignment in 1987. He retired from the U.S. Navy 1 April 1996 as a VADM and passed away May 2009.

Zachary Moody


Ellicott City, Maryland

• American University

Tailhook Educational Foundation awardee of the JAMES de GANAHL SCHOLARSHIP No. 2 - Shanahan Europa

JAMES de GANAHL SCHOLARSHIP, No. 2

Sponsored by Dorothy “Dossie” de Ganahl

James was born in 1924 and graduated from Kent School and the U.S. Naval Academy class of 1947. He married Dossie and was winged in 1949. Jim and Dossie had four children. Jim retired in 1968 and passed away in May 2007.

Shanahan Europa


Oxnard, California

• Accepted to California State University, Long Beach

Tailhook Educational Foundation awardee of the RADM JACK CHRISTIANSEN  MEMORIAL SCHOLARSHIP - Jacob Olsen

RADM JACK CHRISTIANSEN
MEMORIAL SCHOLARSHIP

Sponsored by Clare, Tom and Tina Christiansen

This scholarship, awarded to prior enlisted personnel, honors the memory of RADM Jack Christiansen, USN(Ret), a Life Member of the Tailhook Association. Jack was designated a Naval Aviator in 1943. Because of his flying skill and courage he was awarded the Navy Cross and the Distinguished Flying Cross. Jack commanded USS Constellation (CV-64) 1968–’70 during the Vietnam War and, was one of only two enlisted pilots to achieve the rank of rear admiral. He retired from the Navy in 1975, passed away in April 2008 and was buried with military honors at Fort Rosecrans National Cemetery.

Jacob Olsen


Saint Augustine, Florida

• Accepted to University of Florida

Tailhook Educational Foundation awardee of the THE VADM PAUL MCCARTHY MEMORIAL SCHOLARSHIP - james griffen

THE VADM PAUL MCCARTHY MEMORIAL SCHOLARSHIP

Sponsored by the Tailhook Association

VADM McCarthy graduated from the Massachusetts Maritime Academy. He then joined the Navy and earned both his surface warfare and Naval Aviator designations. During his aviation career, he flew F2H-3/4 Banshees and the A-4 Skyhawk. He made a Mediterranean Sea deployment as landing signal officer and operations officer of VA-12 and was a test pilot at VX-5 in China Lake. He saw his first combat in Vietnam with VA-15 and then again as VA-95's Executive and Commanding Officer. He flew a total of 251 missions including 38 alfa strikes, and was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross, Bronze Star, Meritorious Service Medal and 27 Air Medals. He completed his operational tours as Seventh Fleet Commander and finished his career as Director of Research, Development and Acquisition (OP-98).

James Griffin


Foothill Ranch, California

• Texas Christian University

Tailhook Educational Foundation awardee of the A-7 CORSAIR II ASSOCIATION SCHOLARSHIP - Zachary Kreiser

A-7 CORSAIR II ASSOCIATION SCHOLARSHIP

Sponsored by The A-7 Corsair II Association Membership

Going by aesthetics, the A-7 Corsair II bears an uncanny resemblance to a drainage pipe with wings. However, under the aircraft's bulky exterior lurked serious striking power. Delivering large loads of Air-to-Ground munitions at high speeds, the A-7 Corsair II proved to be one of the most valuable striking tools US Navy carriers and US Air Force had at their disposal, attacking targets from Vietnam to the 1991 Gulf War. The “SLUF”, a derivative of America's "last gunfighter," the F-8 Crusader, first flew in 1965. The jet was an incredible mix of just enough kinetic performance, game-changing technology, lots of gas plus bomb lugging ability all coming together in an attack aircraft which in retrospect, may have been too logical for its time and more suited for the battlefields of today than yesterday." A-7 Corsair IIs replaced A-4 Skyhawks and complemented A-6 Intruders and A-10 Thunderbolts (“Warthogs”) as carrier and shore based attack aircraft until the Navy replaced them by the McDonnell Douglas/ Boeing FA-18s and the Air Force replaced them with General Dynamics/ Lockheed Martin F-16s.

Zachary Kreiser


Norfolk, Virginia

• Yale University

Tailhook Educational Foundation awardee of the LT STEVE ZILBERMAN <br> MEMORIAL SCHOLARSHIP - Madelyn Mahon

LT STEVE ZILBERMAN
MEMORIAL SCHOLARSHIP

Sponsored by the Tailhook Association

LT Miroslav “Abrek” Zilberman was posthumously awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross for his actions during a 31 March 2010 emergency while flying an E-2C Hawkeye aircraft in the North Arabian Sea. He kept the stricken aircraft stable allowing three other crewmembers to bail out, but time ran out before he could follow.

Madelyn Mahon


Pensacola, Florida

• Accepted to University of Florida