Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University Student Awarded Thunderbird Field II Veterans Memorial, Inc. Aviation Scholarship

February 3, 2022 – Scottsdale, AZ


Douglas Niemela CopyThunderbird Field II Veterans Memorial, Inc. (“TB2″) announced a 2022 Aviation Scholarship has been awarded to Douglas Niemela, an Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University (“ERAU”) senior earning a Bachelor of Science in Aeronautics Fixed Wing.  TB2 is a non-profit 501(c)(3) organization dedicated to preserving the history of aviation in Scottsdale, Arizona, honoring all military veterans, creating unique educational opportunities for Arizona students studying all aspects of aviation, and supporting Dogs4Vets.

In addition to earning his Bachelor degree and holding a 3.96 GPA, Mr. Niemela has earned licenses and certifications for Certified Flight Instructor, Commercial Pilot Multi Engine Land, and Instrument Rated Pilot Single Engine Land.  Douglas currently works at ERAU as a Pilot Instructor.  He has accepted a first officer position upon graduating ERAU with Horizon Air, a regional airline based in Sea-Tac, Washington.  Horizon Air and its sister carrier, Alaska Airlines, are subsidiaries of Alaska Air Group.

Chairman-president-TB2Steve Ziomek, Chairman and President of TB2, stated, “After spending some time with Douglas during the interview process, it immediately became abundantly clear that he is the perfect choice for a TB2 scholarship.”

Rudy R. Miller, Chairman of TB2 Advisory Board and Scholarship Committee, remarked, “We have developed a strong working relationship with ERAU and Douglas is an outstanding recipient of this prestigious award.  He now is a member of a select group of honorees.”  Miller continued, “He is the twelfth aviation scholarship winner over the past 26 months.  We anticipate selecting five more excellent candidates from other outstanding Arizona aviation college programs in the next 10 months.  Our mission is to help our aviation related students to achieve his or her dreams!”

“Douglas Niemela is a true leader among our Bachelors of Science degree in Aeronautical Science students.  He is the current Captain of our 13-time National Collegiate Flight Competition Team, known as the “Golden Eagles.”  He will lead the Golden Eagles for the 2022 competition and, much to our benefit, transition to flight instructing for the Prescott Campus,” noted Parker Northrup, ERAU College of Aviation Flight Department Chair. “We are grateful he is being recognized by Thunderbird Field II with this generous scholarship.”

About Thunderbird Field II Veterans Memorial, Inc.

Thunderbird Field II Veterans Memorial, Inc. is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization formed in 2014 and headquartered in Scottsdale, Arizona.  During World War II, an airfield named Thunderbird Field II was built for the sole purpose of training U.S. Army Air Corps pilots in 1942.  Thunderbird Field II graduated over 5,500 men and women pilots of whom many saw military action in Europe and the Pacific.  The field and school were deactivated on October 16, 1944, sold to Arizona State Teachers College (ASU), then to the Arizona Conference of Seventh-day Adventists, and finally to the City of Scottsdale in 1966 and is now known as Scottsdale Airport (KSDL).

The Aviation Scholarship Program provides scholarships to veteran and non-veteran Arizona resident students who meet specific criteria and are attending Arizona State University, Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, Chandler-Gilbert Community College, Cochise College, Pima Community College, or Yavapai College.  TB2 has a permanent memorial at the entrance of the Scottsdale Airport and a historical display inside the facilities honoring the service of men and women of the U.S. Armed Forces as well as POW-MIAs. For more information, please visit www.tbird2.org.

About Dogs4Vets

American Service Animal Society, dba Dogs4Vets, is a non-profit 501(c)(3) organization dedicated to enabling disabled veterans to live a more productive life through the use of service animals. Dogs4Vets helps disabled veterans train their own dog to be their service dog.  They sponsor disabled veterans that qualify with lifetime, at no cost, service dog training and certification.  The service dogs are trained to interact with the veteran and notice changes in body language, stress hormone chemicals, and voice.

Thunderbird Field II Veterans Memorial, Inc. Contacts:

Steve Ziomek

Chairman & President

[email protected]



Rudy R. Miller

Chairman, Advisory Board & Scholarship Committee

[email protected]


Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University Contact:

Mike Cavaliere

Director of News & Media Relations

[email protected]