Ever since he was young, Lance Wiese knew exactly what he wanted to do.
“I had this dream of wanting to fly,” Wiese said.
Wiese said that dream came when he was in third grade.
“I had an uncle, who was a mechanic in the Air Force and on one of our visits, he took me and my sister to base and we got to actually walk on a wing of a B-52 bomber and my third grade year, I knew I wanted to be a pilot.”
As a senior in high school, he had a plan of going to college on a football and wrestling scholarship, but enlisting in the military was always in the back of his mind.
“I guess, ultimately, I shifted gears from those college plans and went right into the Navy,” he said. “I ended up getting into an officer program that would result in going into the Naval Academy or any school that had ROTC, and so out of that, I went to the University of Nebraska - Lincoln to be near family.”
After being enrolled for a year and a half, Wiese got accepted into flight school.
“I got my wings (in Kingsville, Texas,) and then was chosen to fly the F-14 Tomcat.”
Wiese was enlisted for 20 years where he got the opportunity to be a fighter jet pilot before he became a teacher.
“I just loved to fly,” he said. “That’s originally why I wanted to get into the military was to fly.”
Aside from flying, Wiese also enjoyed meeting new people and creating long lasting friendships.
“Our deployments were seven months long. You’d be on a ship with 5,000 people packed in together and you get to know your squad or mates quite well. It was just a fun group of people to work with and deploy with.”
Wiese left the military and went into teaching, as he wanted to be around his family more because of the lengthy and copious deployments.
“We wanted to come back to the Midwest to be near our families,” Wiese said. “My wife is from Gering.”
He was looking at jobs where he got the opportunity to fly, so he and his family bought a farm south of Gering, where he got the chance to fly crop dusters in the summer.
“I was very busy in the summer and not that busy in the winter. It kind of started the idea that I would be a substitute teacher during the winter just to stay busy, and from there, principal (Shawn) Seiler came to me when a job opportunity opened up and I ended up teaching freshman world geography.”
Wiese currently teaches social studies at Gering High School.
He got his degree through the University of Nebraska—Lincoln, but is currently taking classes through the University of Nebraska—Kearney. He chose to teach world geography because of his interest in history.
“I had majored in criminal justice in college and I had a lot of history classes as a part of that. If I got to teach, I want to do something I’m passionate about.”
He loves getting the opportunity to teach everyday. Wiese even shares with his students his experiences and stories of being in the military and also tells them to choose a profession that they are passionate about.
“I love the kids,” Wiese said. “What I enjoy is the opportunity that maybe they’re not aware what’s out there. I try and tell these kids that they can do it.”