Air Force Captain David R. Herndon ’05 knows a lot about service. He is dedicated to serving both his country and his alma mater.
Herndon is finishing up a deployment to Headquarters Resolute Support in Kabul, Afghanistan as the military assistant and aide-de-camp to the deputy chief of staff for strategic communication.
From his post in Afghanistan, Herndon recently joined the East Carolina Alumni Association as a Centennial Pirate, after being prompted by his father. Herndon says this is especially fitting since his father has been his example for his whole life.
“My father is my inspiration, role model, and best friend,” Herndon says. “I recall him taking me to plenty of air shows and visiting his reserve unit when I was growing up. He retired as a lieutenant colonel after more than 34 years of honorable service and every day, I salute him for sacrificing and showing me what it means to serve. When I go off on tangents about the greatness of ECU, he always asks what I’ve done recently to give back and ensure its greatness continues. I’m one of the proudest Pirates you’ll ever meet, so it was an easy decision to join the alumni association.”
Herndon enrolled in the Air Force ROTC program at ECU during his freshman year. Originally from the Triangle area, Herndon was considering out-of-state schools, but a visit to ECU and the Air Force ROTC detachment changed his mind. “I talked it over with my parents after that initial visit and we agreed ECU was the best decision. It remains one of the best journeys I’ve taken in my life,” he said.
Herndon earned his bachelor of science in communication. While at ECU, Herndon also served as student body vice president. Some of his favorite memories are those from the campaign trail with the Student Government Association. He also enjoyed his aerospace courses and leadership labs with the Air Force ROTC program.
“The School of Communication at ECU definitely put me on a solid track to support the rigors of handling international communication portfolios,” he said. “ECU not only gave me that foundation, but provided me with an opportunity to network and think globally when exploring communication concepts. My biggest takeaway from my undergraduate experience was the importance of continued life-long learning. There was a banner above the entrance of the Air Force ROTC detachment that read ‘Following Today, Leading Tomorrow, Learning Forever.’ I take that message with me everywhere I go.”
After his deployment, Herndon will return to the Pentagon where he works as a public affairs officer at Headquarters Air Force, with additional duty as a social aide to the president of the US with the White House Military Office.
By Jackie Drake