The Captain Ryan Phaneuf Memorial Fund was founded in July 2021 because we believe in removing financial barriers to those who will be serving our nation! To accomplish this, we raise finances that fund competitive need-based scholarships to JROTC students who are pursuing a baccalaureate degree for accessions into the military, or are pursuing aviation experience. With four scholarships funded so far, we are expanding our reach and our impact with your help!
Captain Phaneuf was a U.S. Air Force pilot with over 1,200 hours in bomber, electronic warfare, and training aircrafts. In high school, Ryan was involved in JROTC and was recognized in the top 1% of 110,000 worldwide cadets by his selection to attend the Aerospace and Technology Honors camp at the University of Oklahoma, and his selection the following year to attend the National Youth Leadership Forum on Defense, Intelligence, and Diplomacy in Washington D.C. This culminated in Ryan serving as a Cadet Colonel his senior year. He attended college at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University (Florida), receiving his military commission in 2012, and subsequently graduated from Specialized Undergraduate Pilot Training at Laughlin AFB, TX. His first assignment was as a T-6II Instructor Pilot where he taught pilot accessions in contact, instrument, formation, and low-level flight. He then tracked to the B-1B, completing his initial qualification training as a Distinguished Graduate. He was assigned to the 37th Bomber Squadron at Ellsworth AFB, and he subsequently volunteered to deploy to Kandahar, Afghanistan in the E-11A Battlefield Airborne Communications Node (BACN) aircraft.
Captain Phaneuf was deployed in support of OPERATION FREEDOM'S SENTINEL when on January 27, 2020, the aircraft he was piloting suffered catastrophic engine failure, resulting in the aircraft crashing in Ghazni Province, Afghanistan. Captain Phaneuf is listed by the Department of Defense as the final Airman killed in operations in Afghanistan.
Captain Phaneuf was a gifted aviator and a consummate instructor who was dedicated to educating and inspiring everyone he met. The focus of his career and his life was helping others, and this memorial fund set up in his name is a continuation of his incredible legacy. Through this memorial fund, his passion for helping others continues as it gives scholarships to the next generation of JROTC cadets who are pursuing a career in aviation and the military.
Captain Phaneuf is a recipient of the New Hampshire Medal of Honor, and additionally was awarded the Bronze Star medal, the Air Medal with Combat device, the Air Force Meritorious Service Medal, the Air Force Commendation Medal, and the Afghanistan Campaign medal with one service star.