Round trip

Stephen Sweeney was 11 when he first learned about JAARS, Wycliffe’s key partner for mission aviation and technical support services. “The youth pastor at our church knew I was interested in aviation, so he took me to the JAARS “Missions at the Airport” event at Smoketown Airport near my home in Pennsylvania,” remembers Stephen. “I flew in the old Hiller helicopter and loved the experience. I knew then that aviation was in my future.” What he did not know was that JAARS would also be in his future.

Stephen attended Villanova University on a naval reserve officer scholarship and entered flight training at Pensacola, Fla. after graduation and commissioning. He trained as a naval flight officer whose mission specialty was electronic warfare.

During his 15 years on active duty, Stephen accumulated over 2,700 hours of flight time in EA-6B, F/A-18F and EA-18G aircraft. He also flew combat missions in Iraq, Syria, Afghanistan, and Libya. But as successful as Stephen was in the navy, the Lord had other ideas for his future.

“I intended to make the navy a career, but after about 12 years on active duty, my first child was born, and my father died from cancer. I started to question my future and my priorities. I prayed for the Lord to show me the way.”

Stephen’s next assignment was . . .

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