Find out how much you can qualify for.

THE ASCENDER

Aviator Aric McGee and a colleague discuss helicopter maintenance

ARIC’S BIO

Most children raised in instability lead a life of it thereafter. Aric McGee is the exception. With a tumultuous childhood in which he was raised by a single mother, a young Aric McGee was going down the wrong path in life. 

When Aric moved in with his grandfather during one particularly rough summer, he listened to stories of his cousin Charles E. McGee—a legendary Tuskegee airman who fought in World War II, Korea, and Vietnam. The tales of bravery and courage of this one man, sparked the beginning of a love for aviation. Little did he know that this would become his own career.

Aric knew he needed to get away from the negativity that surrounded him. There was a fire to do something great in life; he just didn’t know how. With encouragement from his mother, he decided to enlist in the Navy as a stepping stone to education, discipline and a better life.

He was convinced he would return to work in the civilian world after five years, but after discovering a new family in the Navy everything changed. When an opportunity came his way to transition to Officer through the Seaman to Admiral-21 Program, Aric saw an opportunity to follow in the footsteps of his cousin Charles. Seventeen years later, after transitioning from an aircraft electrician to a bold pilot who flies his own helo, Aric McGee is a new man.

Since joining the Navy, Aric has made amends with his mother, connected with his father, and created a better life for his own wife and daughters. He is a testament to the potential of every human being to defy the odds and break bad streaks. The past does not define Aric’s future. Only he can do that.

Naval Aviator Aric McGee poses with his father

 

The Ascender

NAVAL AVIATOR

As a Pilot, you will defend our world from above. Whether you are manning a helicopter, or maneuvering an F-18, the sky is your domain. You are responsible for carrying out tasks that range from antisubmarine warfare, mine countermeasures, and enemy surveillance, to search and rescue, fighter, and reconnaissance missions. One more thing: our aircraft don’t just launch from land. Navy pilots train rigorously to be able to catapult off and land directly on an aircraft carrier.  This is no Hollywood movie. You are the one your team relies on. Can you accept that responsibility?

Aric McGee has built a successful career as a navy aviator

 

MORE EPISODES

Patch Wearers

The real pilots of TOPGUN aren't the mavericks the world believes they are.

WATCH NOW

Homecoming

Doctor treats infectious diseases worldwide—including her childhood home of Liberia.

WATCH NOW

The Interpreter

Digging for purpose didn’t happen in her own backyard—it took her all the way to Bahrain.

WATCH NOW

The Seventh Sailor

Home's hard to leave. This Sailor watched 6 siblings join the Navy before it was his turn.

WATCH NOW

The Wallflower

Sometimes, it takes four legs to remind you how important your purpose is in the world.

WATCH NOW

Stuntwoman

Dreamed of doing her own stunts but found action that doesn't end when they yell "cut."

WATCH NOW

The Achiever

For one homeless teen, a Navy education offered a chance to make the world a better place.

WATCH NOW

El Oyente

Justin Alvarado found his way as he journeyed to Spain in search of a new path in the Navy.

WATCH NOW

Junior

Michael Benitez thought he was leaving family behind but found a new one joining the Navy.

WATCH NOW

THE WALK-ON

Some train to play college football, but former SEAL Damian Jackson simply walked on.

WATCH NOW

Selfless

When this Sailor must leave her family to ensure their future, her strength is tested.

WATCH NOW

Lifeline

Being curious changed this Sailor's mind about the Navy. Then it changed her life.

WATCH NOW

Life Preserver

A life preserver. Sailor saves people from perils at sea and feeds the hungry on days off.

WATCH NOW

Dirt Sailor

This Sailor learned the importance of a meaningful life while staying true to his roots.

WATCH NOW

The Driver

As a reservist in America's Navy, he’s also chasing his dreams to become a NASCAR driver.

WATCH NOW

Momma Bear

She juggles multiple roles with pride and proves you can accomplish anything in the Navy.

WATCH NOW

Miss Congeniality

In remaining an individual, she exemplifies the strength in staying true to yourself.

WATCH NOW

Citizen No. T399836

Sailor uses personal struggles by giving back to the country that gave his family so much.

WATCH NOW