WAPAKONETA — The Auglaize County Historical Society and the village historical societies of the county continue the “Our Men and Women in Air and Space” initiative organized in conjunction with the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 moon landing. Wapakoneta native Sam Hinegardner is one of the youngest persons documented.
A member of the Class of 2015 of Wapakoneta High School, Hinegardner graduated last month from the Air Force Academy. Having majored in Systems Engineering with an Aeronautical focus, Hinegardner has been accepted into the Air Force’s pilot training program. He has been assigned to Vance Air Force Base, Oklahoma, for pilot training, which will begin in August.
Hinegardner was a member of the Academy’s track and field team (Division I school) for all of his four years, earning multiple All Conference awards, including first team awards. He has also earned multiple Academic All Conference awards.
Hinegardner qualified for the NCAA regionals last year in high jump. According to father Ernie Hinegardner, his son attributes his track success at the Air Force to Wapakoneta High School’s track coaches, Mark Cook and Jeremy Dickey. The younger Hinegardner was also a captain of the track team at the Academy.
Ernie Hinegardner explains a special connection between Sam, his classmates at the Air Force Academy, and Neil Armstrong:
“Each class at the Air Force picks an ‘Exemplar.’ An exemplar is a person the class chooses who the class wishes to emulate. Neil Armstrong was chosen as the Class of ’19 exemplar. Exemplars are not chosen twice; the Class of ’19 chose Armstrong.”
To leearn moreabout the Cadet Exemplar Program, visit http://bit.ly/2IxzTwC.