2019 Tillman Scholar

Jeff Krueger

Stanford University

“I aim to apply advances in technology in creating tactically relevant capabilities for aerial firefighters and other emergency service operators.”


Jeff elected to attend the Naval Academy after the attacks of Sept. 11. Upon graduating, he spent two years in flight school and then ten years as a Navy FA-18 pilot. During that time, Jeff served as a pilot in two aircraft-carrier based fighter squadrons and as an instructor at TOPGUN. In reflecting on his years of service, the most important lesson he learned, whether professionally or personally, was always to be worthy of others’ trust.

Over the course of various deployments supporting ground operations, Jeff saw how effective teamwork in challenging scenarios ultimately depended on each member of the team fully trusting one another. Jeff learned from the standout leaders with whom he served that this trust was earned through credibility built on relentless preparation, a humble attitude and an approachable demeanor.

After a 12-year career in the Navy, Jeff and his wife’s entrepreneurial spirit and faith in each other inspired them to jump headfirst into an all-new career path to find a new way to serve something bigger than themselves. Jeff is eager to leverage his military aviation experience to develop technology and tactical procedures to enable safe and effective night aerial firefighting operations for fixed-wing aircraft against forest fires. Jeff is pursuing an MBA at Stanford to explore this endeavor.