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Meet Dyess' Flying Dutchman

Royal Netherlands air force Maj. Brian Zoll, center, 317th Airlift Group, stands at parade rest amongst other Airmen during a Memorial Day ceremony May 24, 2012 at Dyess Air Force Base, Texas. Zoll joined the 317th AG through an officer exchange program.  Back in the Netherlands, Zoll was a C-130H pilot. Through the exchange program, he was able to travel to Little Rock Air Force Base, Ark., where he trained to become a C-130J pilot. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Charles V. Rivezzo/Released)

Royal Netherlands air force Maj. Brian Zoll, center, 317th Airlift Group, stands at parade rest amongst other Airmen during a Memorial Day ceremony May 24, 2012 at Dyess Air Force Base, Texas. Zoll joined the 317th AG through an officer exchange program. Back in the Netherlands, Zoll was a C-130H pilot. Through the exchange program, he was able to travel to Little Rock Air Force Base, Ark., where he trained to become a C-130J pilot. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Charles V. Rivezzo/Released)

DYESS AIR FORCE BASE, Texas -- From clogs to cowboy boots, one member of the Royal Netherlands air force left his native soil to take part in a foreign national partnership with Dyess Air Force Base, Texas.

Maj. Brian Zoll, 317th Airlift Group, chose to participate in a three year program to challenge himself and to experience a different air force.

"It was a huge challenge to see if I would be able to work in a totally different environment, with a different culture and different people," Zoll said. "I also wanted the opportunity to experience a different air force and see how they operate and how they work. It was my personal goal to learn new tricks, and hopefully share some of my experience from the Netherlands with people here."

Prior to joining the military, Zoll was a civilian pilot. Wanting to be more than an instructor in a flight school, he decided to join the Royal Netherlands air force.

"I wanted to be a real pilot and see the world," Zoll said. "It's very rewarding to fly for the Air Force. Whether it's a military or humanitarian mission, people are so grateful to see you coming. That opens your eyes to what you do. I am in the military, but we don't always fight and try to win someone over, we do a lot of good for people."

Back in the Netherlands, Zoll was a C-130H pilot. Through the exchange program, he was able to travel to Little Rock Air Force Base, Ark., where he trained to become a C-130J pilot.

"The J is an awesome airplane," Zoll said. "It has very dependable engines, great electronics and a lot of information in front of you, so you have a lot more situational awareness."

Zoll was not only impressed by the U.S. Air Force's aircraft, but also by its people.

"The people here are amazing," he said. "They're very motivated to do the best they can."

Likewise, servicemembers who have had the opportunity to work with Zoll share similar praises.

"It's great to work with Major Zoll," said Maj. Sean Callahan, 317th AG. "He is 100 percent a part of the Air Force team and is a great person who loves to fly."

"Major Zoll brings a wealth of aviation experience to our squadron," said Capt. Joshua Capper, 317th AG. "His positive attitude and work ethic have a daily positive impact on the 40th Airlift Squadron. The 317th benefits from this exchange because of the unique perspective and ideas he brings to the table."

The exchange program was initially three years long, however after falling in love with the local area Zoll was able to extend his tour for two more years.

"My wife and I really like it here," Zoll said. "My favorite thing in Texas is the whole cowboy scene. We love the people of Abilene and the city is really welcoming to the military."




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