Born in Phoenix, Arizona in 1994, Jacob Vaughan’s family moved to Bowling Green in 2009. He later enrolled in the newly completed South Warren High School, where he played in three different varsity sports, graduating in 2013.
After earning an Associate Degree while on a baseball scholarship at Southeast Illinois College, he returned to Western Kentucky University to complete a Bachelor’s degree in Criminology. Just after his graduation in 2017, he enrolled in flight school in Bowling Green, there achieving his Private Pilot’s license.
Solidly committed to a career in aviation, he was recruited by the Oklahoma National Guard to train in one of the most nimble fighter jets in the USAF inventory, the venerable General Dynamics F-16 Fighting Falcon.
Vaughan received his commission in 2018 at Total Force Officer Training School at Maxwell AFB, Alabama, graduating top in his class. He began Euro-NATO Joint Jet Pilot Training (ENJJPT) in 2019 at Sheppard AFB, Texas and received his wings in 2020. He remained in Texas and rapidly advanced through the Air Force’s Introduction to Fighter Fundamentals (IFF) course. He was selected as his class’s Distinguished Graduate and also received the Red River Valley Fighter Pilot Association (RRVFPA) Warrior Award.
Later that year, at Holloman AFB in New Mexico, Vaughan completed what could be termed his “Master’s Degree” in fighter weapons training, the rigorous F-16 “B” Course with the 8th Fighter Squadron. There, he honed his skills in air combat, surface attack and suppression of enemy air defenses, while learning tight formation flight as a wingman. He proved his talent in the Falcon, receiving 2021 TOP GUN awards for Air-to-Air and Air-to-Ground warfare excellence, along with the Top Graduate Award. He once again was presented with the RRVFPA Warrior Award. Subsequently, Jacob was also presented the prestigious Francis “Gabby” Gabreski Award by the American Fighter Aces Association for being the United States Air Force’s Top B-Course Graduate across all fighter aircraft.
Captain Vaughan returned to Tulsa, Oklahoma in the fall of 2021 and he currently serves as the Electronic Combat Pilot for the 125th Fighter Squadron. To date, he has logged over 600 hours in the T-6, the T-38 and the F-16 C/ CM/ and D.