910th pilot serves as bridge between Reserve, Congress

YOUNGSTOWN AIR RESERVE STATION, Ohio -- Many little boys dream of being a pilot when they grow up. 

Many little boys dream of being in politics when they grow up. 

As adults, only a select few grow up to serve as aviators. Even fewer have the opportunity to serve in Congress. 

Maj. John Boccieri, a C-130 Hercules aircraft commander assigned to the 773rd Airlift Squadron here and a U.S. Representative to Ohio's 16th Congressional District, has grown up to live both of these rare dreams. 

"I am very blessed to have this opportunity," said Maj. Boccieri.  

Maj. Boccieri said that he loves to fly and has been at the Youngstown Air Reserve Station for nine years. He served six years previously on active duty. 

He recalled a recent conversation he had with Lt. Gen. Charles E. Stenner, Jr., Commander of the Air Force Reserve Command, regarding his upcoming move to Headquarters Air Force Reserve Pentagon to further his Reserve career. 

"Lt. Gen. Stenner said that he would like to have me working at the Pentagon. In return, I told him that I like to fly. He then said that he needed me at the Pentagon. In return, I said that I needed to fly. He then said that I was going to the Pentagon and I responded with 'yes, sir'," said Maj. Boccieri. "I will not be flying for the time being." 

He added that his time in the Air Force has helped enhance his role in Congress. He has been deployed in four rotations to Iraq and Afghanistan in support of Operations Iraqi and Enduring Freedom. 

"I have flown all over the world with the Air Force," he said. "My heart and soul is with the military endeavor. I hope to serve as a bridge between the Air Force Reserve and

Maj. Boccieri is a native of Youngstown, Ohio, and now resides in Alliance, Ohio, with his wife, Stacey, and their four children. He said that he advocates for the working families, veterans and local business owners of Wayne, Stark and the southern portions of Medina and Ashland counties in his Ohio district. 

"As the grandson of a coal miner, steel worker and carpenter, I am both humbled and honored to serve the people of the 16th Congressional District," said Maj. Boccieri, who was sworn in January 6, 2009. 

In addition, he understands the gravity of the decisions he may have to make as a legislator. 

"I have a vote that could send my only son to war which...I take very serious," he said. 

Maj. Boccieri is one of the lucky little boys that grew up to live his dreams. He plans to continue to selflessly serve this country through his commitment and dedication to the Air Force Reserve and to the 16th Congressional District of Ohio.