Three Lassen High school graduates, Lt. Col. Zamora-Wilson, left, with C4C Richard Von Brandt and C2C Ashley Nimmo, are currently serving in the United States Air Force Academy. Photo submitted

Class of 1985 passes the torch of leadership

The United States Air Force Academy, USAFA, is located in Colorado Springs, Colorado and is one of five U.S. service academies. USAFA doesn’t just graduate cadets but also educates, trains and inspires men and women to become leaders of character in service to our nation. Needless to say, with a 12 percent acceptance rate, selection for an appointment to this institution is very competitive.

One of the 550 faculty members responsible for educating, training, and inspiring the 4,237 cadets, happens to be a Lassen High School alumni. Lieutenant Colonel Lynda Zamora-Wilson, PhD, is a 1985 LHS graduate, and serves as an assistant professor in the Department of Economics and Geosciences.

Zamora-Wilson is currently serving her second tour at USAFA, teaching economics. Her first USAFA tour was in 1999-2002, teaching calculus for the Department of Mathematics. Zamora-Wilson describes her job as incredibly rewarding, as she not only teaches, but mentors new leaders.

Last month, USAFA hosted Parents’ Weekend. Zamora-Wilson describes the event as, “a great opportunity for the cadets to connect with their family, show them around the campus, and let their parents get a glimpse into the life they lead. I really enjoy meeting the parents, and it is quite a compliment to have students take the time to bring their parents to my office so I could meet them.”

During this particular Parent’s Weekend, Zamora-Wilson received a wonderful surprise. While working in her office, a cadet unexpectedly stopped by with their family and approached Zamora-Wilson saying, “Ma’am, you don’t know me, but I come from your hometown.”

The cadet standing before her was Cadet 2nd Class Ashley Nimmo, a 2014 graduate from Lassen High School.

Zamora-Wilson was then introduced to C2C Nimmo and her family, and was also informed that there was another Grizzly on campus; Cadet 4th Class Richard Von Brandt, a 2014 graduate from Lassen High School.

Zamora-Wilson stated, “What a thrill! Not only was it awesome to meet someone from my hometown, but knowing the difficulty of getting accepted into USAFA makes it all the more impressive. So, a big congratulations are in order to C2C Nimmo and C4C Von Brandt!”

Nimmo was the valedictorian for the class of 2014. She enlisted on July, 15 2014 as a Health Services Management Airman, and she completed Technical Training on Nov 10, 2014 at Ft. Sam Houston in San Antonio, Texas. Upon completion of Technical Training, she was stationed at Ft. Sam Houston and worked in the Inpatient Admissions and Dispositions Office as an admissions and disposition clerk at San Antonio Military Medical Center, formerly Brooke Army Medical Center, the Army’s largest inpatient hospital and level one trauma center.

As an admissions and dispositions clerk, Nimmo was responsible for helping initiate an inpatient record for patients, electronically admitting, discharging, doing inter-ward transfers of patients, conducting patient transfers to and from other hospitals, and securing patient belongings. She was accepted into the United States Air Force Academy Class of 2020 on April 6, 2016 and is currently working towards earning a Bachelor’s degree in Biology and a commission as an officer in the Air Force.

Von Brandt graduated from LHS in 2014. He enlisted on July 29 2014 as a Cyber Transport Airman, after that, he went to Keesler AFB in Biloxi MS for seven months for Technical Training, and then he was stationed at Wright-Patterson AFB in Dayton, Ohio where he won Senior Airman Below the Zone, early promotion to E-4, and was Airman of the Year for his squadron.

Then he went to the United States Air Force Academy Preparatory School in 2017, and he was the number one cadet candidate in academics for the USAFA Preparatory School Class of 2018. After graduating from the USAFA Preparatory school, he was accepted into the United States Air Force Academy Class of 2022, where he is currently working towards a bachelor’s degree and a commission as an officer in the Air Force.

Zamora-Wilson graduated from Lassen High School in 1985. She has served 23 years in the Air Force. Notable positions held during her service are: assistant professor in mathematics and Economics, USAFA, Colorado, commander for the joint team military assistants during the 2017 Presidential Inauguration, Ft. McNair, Washington D.C., senior economist for the Secretary of the Air Force, Pentagon, Washington D.C., flight test engineer/analyst for the developmental and operational test of the F-22 Raptor, Edwards AFB, California, test director for the Electronic Warfare Division, Eglin AFB, Florida, chief of the Defense Meteorological Satellite Program Test Branch, Los Angeles AFB, and Aerospace Corp Laser Lab intern, Los Angeles AFB.

Zamora-Wilson has three publications, and has earned the following degrees: PhD in economics; MS in mathematics; MA in international trade; and MA in education.

C2C Ashley Nimmo has dreamed of attending USAFA for a very long time. Since the age of 9, she admired the Blue Star Banners that lined the streets in Susanville. Little did she know that one day her banner would be displayed across from Zamora-Wilson’s! Von Brandt’s banner is two banners down from Nimmo’s.

Susanville has three LHS graduates on the campus of the United States Air Force Academy—impressive! Our small hometown is represented well with these individuals. Mike and Ande Nimmo are the parents of Nimmo; Laura von Brandt is the mother of Von Brandt; and Eddie and Julie Zacher are the parents of Zamora-Wilson.

No doubt, these parents are very proud of their children.