Credit: Denise America

FORT RUCKER, Al. – On January 28, 2023, 1st Lieutenant Daniel America of the United States Air Force was officially promoted to Captain, making him the real life Captain America.

So technically, he was also the real life Lieutenant Dan.

Daniel was born and raised in Calvert County, graduating from Calvert High School in 2013. While in high school, Daniel was involved in many programs such as NJROTC, the Swim Team, the Cross Country Team, and was also an Eagle Scout.

In 2014, Daniel enlisted in the Air Guard as an Aerospace Ground Equipment Technician, and was commissioned in January of 2019 as a Student Pilot.

“I always wanted to fly, and why fly in a branch where that isn’t their primary mission,” Daniel told “My grandfather was in the USAF and would tell me stories about his time in, and I knew early on that I wanted to be a pilot in the USAF.”

Currently, Daniel is stationed at Fort Rucker in Alabama as an Instructor Pilot. Before Rucker, Daniel has been stationed in numerous areas such as Texas and Columbus, Mississippi. There he had his initial pilot training, helicopter training, and his first assignment as an Instructor.

Daniel’s goal wasn’t actually to become an Instructor Pilot at first.

“When I first joined I wanted to go deploy, I wanted to go do the mission. When I went down to Fort Rucker and fell in love with the Huey, the squadron, and the culture we have. The 23rd Flying Training Squadron grew on me and I started entertaining the idea of volunteering for FAIP (First Assignment Instructor Pilot),” Daniel explained. “Being a FAIP lets you build a lot of flying time and instructional experience at the very beginning of your career. Afterward, you have a large say in where you get assigned next in the rotary community. Unlike the fixed-wing community, rotary FAIPs have to volunteer and go through an interview/screening process with the squadron and only two to three get selected a year. I raised my hand, was lucky enough to be selected, and now I’m two years into my three and a half year assignment here. It’s an opportunity for me to get really good at the basics, work on my master’s, and have a relatively stable life for myself and my wife Kathryn.”

Credit: Denise America

After four years of being an Officer (Lieutenant Dan), it was finally time for Daniel to be promoted to Captain America.

“Ever since I can remember people have been telling me that I should do something to get the title of Captain America so I knew it was coming a long time ago,” Daniel explained. “It was humbling, not so much with the rank, but at the people who showed up to celebrate the promotion. There usually isn’t too much fuss over a 1st Lieutenant being promoted to Captain in the USAF, but we had a big party. I had over 40 family members and friends able to attend from across the country and the squadron showed up in force to bring about 70 people. In essence, it was a really big celebration for just one person and I was humbled that so many people wanted to be a part of it.”

Daniel also talked about how his co-workers reacted to the name change.

“Oh the jokes never stop, they knew it was coming and have been giving me hell forever but it’s all in good fun. Now that it’s been a month or so the newness is wearing off and it’s easier to say without a chuckle,” said Daniel. “It’s my name, and this is nothing new. In high school and then while enlisted I had the nickname ‘Cap’ for a while and that always felt relatively natural. I will say that it usually makes other people’s day when they find out, especially if they’re Marvel fans, so that’s pretty cool.”

Credit: Denise America

After Daneil’s current assignment, he will be heading to the CV-22 with AFSOC or the HH-60W with Combat Search and Rescue teams.

Daniel’s current contract ends in 2030, but obviously hasn’t yet made the decision on if he plans on staying in the military or not.

Although, Daniel does have dreams and goals for life after the military.

Credit: Denise America

“One day after the military life is over I’d like to own and tend to a large parcel of land. I always envision a portion of the earth that my wife and I can call our own and live quietly in nature, living mostly off what we can grow and hunt. I’ve also entertained the idea of opening a flight school or teaching professionally. Honestly, it changes so often that I will most likely just roll with whatever opportunities get presented. Semper Gumbi, always flexible.”

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