Speedy dreams

For a living, Lt. Col. Daniel Lehoski travels 20 miles per minute, in three-dimensions, at nine times the force of gravity while neutralizing threats. From an early age, the former civil engineering student enjoyed building things, taking them apart and solving problems while dreaming of becoming an Air Force pilot.

Graduation with parents

Attending Texas A&M University was also a dream of his. He was a member of  the Corps of Cadets and earned his bachelor’s degree from the Zachry Department of Civil Engineering.

“When I started at Texas A&M in 1996, I saw a video of the early testing of the F-22 prototype and I was captivated by its performance,” Lehoski said. “I still remember watching the video at Evans Library thousands of times, at the expense of my freshman GPA, and dreaming about flying the Raptor.”

He also learned from an early age the importance of serving others, and developed a passion to serve the nation by watching his parents and grandparents.

“Texas A&M and the Corps of Cadets strengthened my drive to serve and solidified my convictions to pursue a career in the Air Force,” Lehoski said.

After graduation, he did not realize just how many of the things he learned in his engineering classes would be useful in his career as a pilot. Lehoski quickly learned just how wrong he was once he climbed in the cockpit.

“On any given day in a Raptor squadron you will hear discussions involving kinetic and potential energy, radar attenuation, trigonometry, calculus and numerous other topics that seem more fitting for an applied engineering classroom than aerial combat tactics,” Lehoski said. 

Every time he takes flight with his team, he is driven by the mission and people he serves to perform the job beyond the best of his abilities.

“For the 95th Fighter Squadron, our mission is to provide air dominance for America and every flight presents new problems that have to be solved,” Lehoski said. “It is problem solving while traveling at 20 miles per minute, in three-dimensions, at nine times the force of gravity, while neutralizing threats and it never gets boring. We work together each day to accomplish the mission in a Super Bowl caliber team of incredibly talented men and women that always find a way to get the job done.”

First F-22 flight to Lithuania

Lehoski, commander of the 95th Fighter Squadron, is most proud of his team receiving the Raytheon Trophy in 2015. The award is given annually to the top fighter squadron in the United States Air Force.

“In a little over a year, the squadron flew missions in England, Germany, Estonia, Lithuania, Romania, Iraq, Syria, Jordan, Poland and Spain, and supported multiple contingency operations — all with 100 percent mission success,” Lehoski said. “It was a tremendous accomplishment and I was fortunate to be part of it.”

Lehoski and fellow Aggie, Col. Robert Davis ’95, helped kick off the 2016 Aggie football season by aiding in and performing the flyover prior to the game and giving tours of their F-22 planes to over 600 Cadets. While things have changed a bit since he last stepped on campus, the unique culture and atmosphere have remained the same — “incredible” is how Lehoski describes it.

“Hearing the National Anthem from atop the press box, the roar of four F-22s, and the cheering crowd as we BTHO UCLA will be a memory I never forget,” Lehoski admitted “I am appreciative for the incredible hospitality and support we received coming back to Aggieland.”

Lehoski credits numerous people as having served as mentors in his life, his parents being at the top of the list. 

“Their example of hard work and integrity, and the value of education they taught me have been the foundation for everything that I have done,” he said.

While at Texas A&M, Dr. Calvin Woods played a significant role as a mentor in Lehoski’s success and helping boost his confidence in finding a career post-graduation.

“He taught me how to apply the math and science concepts, which he taught better than anyone, and is a skill I still use today to fly the F-22,” Lehoski said. “His diverse professional background made me realize that there are so many good options available for engineers, which gave me a great sense of confidence after graduation.”

95th Squadron F-22 over EnglandAside from his life in the sky, Lehoski is most proud of two important women in his life.

“My pride and joy are my wife ’01, who has a career in education, and my daughter ’36,” Lehoski said. “My daughter can already identify F-22s and say ‘Gig ’em’”.

The seasoned fighter pilot advises students to set the bar high with their goals and dreams. After all, the Aggie Network is right behind them, along with the lessons and skills learned on campus.

“The values, academics and other education taught at Texas A&M uniquely prepare Aggies for success,” Lehoski advised. “Coupled with hard work, there are no goals out of reach for graduates.”