Kai D. Patterson
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Lieutenant Patterson Serves His Country Honorably

Kai Paterson was inspired to be a pilot and an astronaut when he entered kindergarten at Quitman Street School in Newark, New Jersey.  Although he spent many years of as a young child dealing with the dangers of growing up in Newark than concentrating on getting an education, he began focusing on his dreams when he was 11 years old.  Avoiding getting in any serious trouble as a child and teenager, Kai Patterson began reading civilian, commercial and military aviation books to teach himself aviation concepts and flight theory. 

Kai Patterson would take the 107 bus from Carmel Towers where he lived, to Newark Airport and watch pilots as they boarded their planes.  "When I was 15 years old, I asked a pilot in the airport giftshop if I could buy him a cup of coffee and learn what I needed to do to become an airline pilot".  "The pilot was a Captain of United Airlines, and I was shocked when he looked me strait in the eyes and said, Absolutely". 

Fate would have it the pilot told Kai Patterson about United Airlines Future Aviation Program that was held at Newark Airport for high school students.  "The pilot ended up buying me lunch and he spent hours telling me about his military aviation background.  "He said basically there were primarily two ways to get the necessary flight experience, and flight hours to become a commercial pilot or an astronaut".  "He said I needed to have rich parents to purchase a multiengine jet aircraft and a private flight instructor, or go into the military".

While attending Hampton University, Kai Patterson received an acceptance into the United States Marine Corps PLC Aviation Program, which required he attend two 6 week training and evaluating programs at Quantico's Officer Candidate School (OCS).  Upon the completion of OCS, Kai Patterson received private flying lessons at Patrick Henry's Cessna Pilot Center, which was paid for by the United States Marine Corp.

Upon the completion of the Cessna Pilot Center, and receiving his Bachelors Degree from Hampton University, Kai Patterson was commissioned as a 2nd Lieutenant in the United States Marine, and attended The Basic School, located in Quantico, Virginia".

During an interim flight physical, it was determined that Kai Patterson had a 25 Degrees Right Apex Scoliosis, after several years of training to become a Marine Aviator.  Scoliosis is a curvature in ones spine that can put excessive strain on pilot's backs during high performance maneuvers, which dashed Kai Patterson's dreams of becoming a military pilot and an astronaut.

"I was devastated when I got the news form Lt. Col. Sheets, who was the flight surgeon and responsible for passing all Marine Officers physicals before and during marine flight training".  "It was discovered in a routine chest x-ray and probably overlook for years".  "I believe that had I stood up strait instead of slouching in front of the x-ray machine, I would have continued passing every physical".

 "After losing my flight contract, I received a reassignment to the Infantry Officers Course for Lieutenants at Quantico, Virginia (IOC)".  "Since I had already served more than 2 years reserve duty, and it could not had been determined weather my Scoliosis was overlooked or induced by military training, I served out my last days in the Marine Corps as an administration officer coordinating air and ground tactics".

Kai Patterson Continues Serving His Country

While waiting for his Honorable Discharge form the United States, Kai Patterson began sending letters to aerospace companies and applied to return to NASA.  "I had purchased a military weapons book that included a list of the military contractors in order by the most dollars they were paid annually in military contracts".  "I was shocked to see that ITT Aerospace / Defense Division was within the top 40 companies".  "I sent ITT a letter and was recruited by Word Hopkins, who was a director in human resources".  "Although I was accepted back at NASA, I did not want to return to a place that I left to become a military pilot, and with the intensions of retuning as an astronaut or test pilot engineer".


Kai Patterson accepted a position at ITT Aerospace / Defense Division, after receiving offers from NASA Langley Research Center and Singer Kearfott.  "I assumed that I was going to be initially recruited for an aerospace software engineering position, but I was also recruited to develop the user interface software and telemetry software for the United States Marine Corps AN/TTC-42 Unit Level Circuit Switch (ULCS) and the Global Positioning Satellite System (GPS).  Not only did Kai Patterson have an aerospace software engineering background from NASA, he spent six months at The Basic School as a Lieutenant in the Marine Corps, which taught him military radio communications.  "Since I was from New Jersey, it was an easy decision to accept the offer from ITT, which was located in Clifton and Nutley, New Jersey".  "It was also great having the opportunity to serve my country, my friends in the Marine Corps with the development of ULCS, and the world with the development GPS system".

Copyright © 2013 Kai D. Patterson, All Rights Reserved