Flying worldwide in the Air Force


As Veterans Day ceremonies unfolded with music, benedictions and a presidential proclamation, Diamond Bar High School graduate Cody Breidinger performed a military flyover with his crew to honor all those who have served their country.

From Australia to Germany, the 2017 alumni flies worldwide in the Air Force Reserve Command as a loadmaster, overseeing cargo and passenger placements, while simultaneously going to college. The command’s duty is to provide combat-ready units and individuals when needed.

Even before high school, Breidinger wanted to choose a path that would serve his country as his grandfather was a fighter pilot for the U.S. Air Force. His initial plan was to attend the U.S. Air Force Academy, but his military career was deferred with a rejection letter. So, he decided to go to Fullerton College.

“As academically inclined as Diamond Bar is, not that they don’t encourage [joining the military], but it’s not as much [of] a huge option as other high schools,” Breidinger said. “But the GLCs were always in support of me and other kids that wanted to join the military.”

Breidinger said he hopes to acquire a degree in business management at Fullerton College.

“I was doing OK [in Fullerton College] but I was ready to join the military so I figured I might as well join the reserves where I can do both still instead of having to go full-time,” Breidinger said. “It was extremely difficult to get the [loadmaster] position at the active duty side but it was even more difficult to get it in the Air Force Reserve side.”

Typically, joining the Air Force Reserve is not difficult as long as the health requirements are met. However, there is a small percentage of jobs, such as loadmaster, that require additional qualifications. On top of that, only five percent of the reserve actually have the opportunity to fly, and flying units mostly hire people with prior active duty.

After a test, countless health screenings and an evaluation of his college GPA. Breidinger managed to overcome these challenges and is now traveling the world on an airplane as part of the combat-ready forces. However, the job is not without its downsides.

“My job, specifically, I’m gone a week or two out of every month,” Breidinger said. “It’s very fun, but you miss holidays and birthdays, and we have some training we had to do that is really difficult.”

During the pandemic, his daily responsibilities include doing paperwork in the base and training, with one of his newest training sessions being a flight to Las Vegas and back. He does not fly abroad unless he is put on a mission, such as the flyover event where aircraft fly over an area to commemorate Veterans Day.

“For the C-17, the aircraft that I was on, the crew positions were two pilots and one loadmaster. Most of my job is on the ground but when we are in the air, it’s mainly being an active member of the crew and making radio calls,” Breidinger said. “It was certainly a memorable experience, I mean as a kid you never think you will be in a flyover.”

He said he now plans to become a pilot and finish college in the near future. The loadmaster recommends that students who plan to join the military make sure they understand the jobs they want since some may not be as fun as they appear.

“I would say to anyone that wants to join to do it! It was the best decision I have ever made and the experience I’ve had, people I’ve met, and places I’ve been are amazing,” Breidinger said.