MARINE CORPS AIR STATION MIRAMAR, Calif. – Some people go through life not knowing exactly what it is they want to do when they grow up. This was not the case with 1st Lt. Jamie Bunce.
“Ever since I was little and saw my first air show, I’ve wanted to fly aircraft,” said the Arvada, Colo., native. “The fact that humans can fly has always fascinated me.”
Bunce, now an MV-22 Osprey pilot with Marine Medium Tiltrotor Squadron 163, kept this dream with him all throughout his young life into adulthood.
“He always seemed mature for his age and knew what he wanted in life,” said Mali Bunce, his mother. “He started speaking and reading early; he always seemed confident. [Jamie] would watch someone do something until he thought he had it perfect in his mind, then he would do it and did it well.”
This attention to detail and dedication to perfecting whatever it was he put his mind to would soon play a major deciding role in his life.
“After Sept. 11, when [Jamie] said he wanted to join the military, I didn’t really want him to go,” said Mali. “At the time, I knew the military fairly well; I had had family in the service. I could see those military traits in him already. He liked to lead, and be in control of a situation.”
After graduating high school, Bunce joined the United States Naval Academy where he studied Economics until graduation. However, he really wanted to chase his dream to fly.
Bunce checked into his flight school in Pensacola, Fla., in January 2010 and earned his wings in June 2012.
“[School] was very interesting, because every six months you switch to a different aircraft to train in,” explained Bunce. “I learned all kinds of interesting facts about one aircraft, then switched and had to relearn another one.”
“Bunce was a huge asset to the morale of the students,” said former classmate Capt. Cory Frederick, an Osprey pilot with Marine Medium Tiltrotor Squadron 363 and a Baltimore native. “Whether flying in the simulators and any other kind of event, there was never a dull moment with him. I mean that in a positive way, because he always had something funny to say.”
The two have flown linked simulators, meaning they flew two separate simulated aircraft for the same kind of training at the same time.
“Flying in the linked simulators together was a great time,” said Frederick. “He takes flying as a passion, never as a job, and he keeps everything balanced. He’s a great friend, Marine and from what I can tell, a good pilot.”
Since joining the fleet only seven months ago, Bunce has performed multiple missions and already found his favorite.
“I love the turf missions,” said Bunce. “I love flying low, close to the landscape -- where there is always something going on. You have to avoid obstacles like mountains and terrain. It makes the whole flight that much more interesting for me.”
Bunce said he truly is living a dream.
“Every day I wake up and get to go to something I love,” he said. “When I talk to my friends and family, I love answering their questions about what I do. I love talking about flying and the Marine Corps. I couldn’t be happier.”