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Airlake Aero Flying Club Honors Member

Rick Connolly Retires From Military


Photo Courtesy Airlake Aero Flying Club

Rick Connolly recently retired from the U.S. Army Reserves May 1, 2021, with a little over 20 years of military service.

The Airlake Aero Flying Club recently celebrated the distinguished military retirement of one of its pilot members.

Rick Connolly was born in Bloomington, Minnesota. He graduated from Thomas Jefferson High School, Bloomington, Minnesota in 1987 and entered active duty with the U.S. Army serving as a combat medic with C. Co. 202nd Support Battalion, 8th ID, Mannheim, West Germany from 1987 to 1990.

Connolly was called back to active duty in support of Desert Shield/Desert Storm serving as a medic at Fort Sam Houston, San Antonio, Texas in 1991. He was honorably discharged from the Inactive Ready Reserve (IRR) in 1995. He answered the call once more after the tragedy of Sept. 11, 2001, serving as a flight medic with the 1256th MEDEVAC, Minnesota Army National Guard, Saint Paul, in 2002.

Connolly was commissioned in the U.S. Army Nurse Corps with the Army Reserves, Rochester, Minnesota, in 2006 and retired from the U.S. Army Reserves May 1, 2021, with a little over 20 years of military service.

He holds numerous awards and earned his Aviation Badge-Basic (non-pilot crewmember) and the Expert Field Medical Badge (EFMB).

Connolly received his National Registry Paramedic certification from North Mankato Technical College, North Mankato, Minnesota in 1993, his Associates Degree in Nursing (ADN) from Inver Hills Community College, Inver Grove Heights, Minnesota in 2006, and his Bachelor of Science Degree in Nursing (BSN) from the University of Wisconsin – Green Bay in 2012.

In his civilian capacity as a registered nurse, he has held positions in medical and surgical ICU’s, emergency nursing, flight nursing and vascular access at the Minneapolis VA Medical Center, Tampa General Hospital, Tampa, Florida,, and Bay Pines VA Medical Center, Bay Pines, Florida.

Photo Courtesy Metropolitan Airports Commission

Rick Connolly joined Airlake Aero Flying Club in September 2020. Airlake is among the smallest of the Metropolitan Airports Commission's general aviation airports.

Connolly’s passions are golf and flying. Rick first earned his private pilot’s license in 1996 from Thunderbird Aviation at Flying Cloud (FCM).

His love of flying lead to a multi-engine rating and instrument rating. Later, he obtained his Commercial license for both ASEL and AMEL.

He joined Airlake Aero Flying Club in September 2020 and has the goal of completing his Certified Flight Instructor ratings.

Through a friend and fellow pilot who owns a Christen Eagle, Connolly also has plans to begin master basic acrobatic flying. He has around 600 hours total time in several aircraft, including Cessna, Piper, and Cirrus.


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