Kalispell’s Curtis Named White House Fellowship Finalist

Curtis is a 1999 Flathead High School graduate

By Beacon Staff

Jason Curtis, a Kalispell native and major with the U.S. Air Force, has been named a national finalist in White House Fellowship, the Obama administration announced Thursday.

Curtis is one of 30 finalists from across the nation and the lone selection from Montana.

National finalists for the nation’s premier program for leadership and public service hail from across the U.S., from Akron to Miami, Rapid City to Los Angeles. They have demonstrated remarkable professional achievement early in their careers, a commitment to public service, and the leadership skills needed to succeed at the highest levels of the Federal government, the White House stated.

The finalists advanced through a competitive selection process, including a comprehensive written application and regional interviews with civic leaders in eight different cities across the country. The finalists will be evaluated by the President’s Commission on White House Fellowships in Washington, D.C. from June 9-12.

Curtis, a 1999 Flathead High School graduate, attended the U.S. Air Force Academy and after graduating, he flew combat missions in the Middle East, providing critical support during times of need. After that he achieved another exceptional distinction by being chosen by the Air Force to become one of “America’s Ambassadors in Blue,” a Thunderbird pilot. In 2014, he flew with the Thunderbirds at an airshow in Kalispell. He piloted his final flight as Thunderbird No. 5 on Jan. 13, 2016, after a three-year tour as a solo pilot with the Air Force’s elite performance team.

Curtis logged more than 1,750 flight hours as an Air Force pilot, including more than 280 hours in combat over Iraq and Libya.

Founded in 1964 by President Lyndon B. Johnson, the White House Fellows Program offers first-hand experience working at the highest levels of the federal government. After a competitive application process, selected individuals spend a year in Washington, D.C. working full-time for cabinet secretaries, senior White House staff, and other top-ranking government officials. Fellows also participate in an education program consisting of roundtable discussions with renowned leaders from the private and public sectors, including the President and Vice President. Fellowships are awarded on a strictly non-partisan basis.

Correction: Jason Curtis is a major in the Air Force, not captain as was previously reported.