2013 Tillman Scholar

Adam Ratesic

Air Force
University of Arizona

Adam enlisted in the Air Force after 9/11 to answer our nation’s call and fulfill a duty to our country. He didn’t just want to serve in our military; he wanted to make a strong impact. Despite the high attrition rate and negative pressure from his recruiter, he decided to pursue the Pararescue career field. The instant Adam read the Pararescue mission statement he fell in love:  “…these things we do that others may live”.

Adam began training with over 120 men and graduated four years later with 8 Pararescue Jumpers (PJ). After a training incident, he suffered a severe infection and developed an autoimmune illness. As a result, he was permanently disqualified from performing rescue flight missions. Without hesitation, he volunteered to finish his enlistment as an instructor. Working side by side with the PJ medical director illuminated desire to pursue medicine to the highest degree.

While working full-time as a Paramedic and attending school full-time Adam became a first-generation college graduate. He is currently a fourth-year medical student at the University of Arizona in Tucson. His new mission is to become a physician and work in the VA health care system so that he can give others the hope to move forward in their lives and the courage to face the challenges ahead.