Editor's note: The following is a press release from the .
Combat veteran Lt. Col. USAF (Ret.) Dion Scaglione is the new Senior Aerospace Science Instructor for Air Force Junior ROTC unit and, as such, is the new Department Chair.
Col. Scaglione comes to BHS after serving for 21 years in the military as a navigator on C130 class aircraft and as a teacher both in the Air Force and in public schools.
“This is a great way to follow my passion, which was to teach,” he said. “I am able to be a teacher and still keep my uniform on while helping to develop citizens with character.”
Col. Scaglione, who grew up in suburban New York, obtained a Bachelor of Arts Degree in economics from Virginia Military Institute where he served in the VMI Air Force ROTC Unit and was commissioned as a second lieutenant upon graduation. He also holds a Masters Degree in International Relations from Troy State.
He flew aboard EC130s (communications jamming aircraft) for three years with deployments to Japan, Korea, the Philippines, Europe and the Middle East where he served during Desert Shield in 1990 and 1991. He then spent 12 years assigned to an AC130 (special operations) unit including two tours of duty as a Mission Commander and Expeditionary Squadron Commander in Operation Iraqi Freedom and one tour at the Middle East Air Operations Command Center supporting operations in Afghanistan and Iraq.
Col. Scaglione also taught young officers to become navigators at Air Force Undergraduate Navigator Training school in Texas and instructed officers and airmen at the Air Force Special Operations School in Florida where he became the division chief in charge of curriculum and much more. “That’s where I discovered I really enjoy teaching,” he said.
Upon retirement in 2008, Col. Scaglione took middle school math teaching jobs and earned his teaching certificate in Florida and Texas while awaiting the pending retirement from Air Force active duty of his wife, Cheryl. He first contemplated a post-retirement career as a JROTC advisor when he witnessed a Lincoln Way JROTC Unit at a welcome-home party for Cheryl when she returned from a tour in Afghanistan to her home town of New Lenox.
“I wanted to use my 21 years of experience to continue to serve the Cadets and the Air Force,” he recalled. “I was very excited when the Bolingbrook positioned opened up.”
Col. Scaglione is “extremely impressed” with the professionalism of the BHS JROTC program and gives unyielding high praise to the now retired Major Vince Rukstalis, as well as MSgt. Richard Burt and MSgt. Tim Sinnaeve, who both remain with the unit.
“The sweat equity they have in this program is evident when you walk in the door,” Col. Scaglione said. “This program is known for excellence. That excellence is all around you from the administration to the instructors to the Cadets.”