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Heroic heights

Thanks to Chris Cisneros’ love of flying and nerves of steel, U.S. soldiers are alive today.

March 18, 2015

Chris Cisneros
Chris Cisneros' heroism earned him the Distinguished Flying Cross with Valor — the highest military award specific to aerial flight. PHOTO: Raymond Geoffroy

Chris Cisneros (B.S. aviation technology ’01) spent much of his youth in Southern California with eyes skyward, watching the U.S. Air Force Thunderbirds dart through the heavens in their trademark diamond formation.

“My parents would take me to air shows at military bases, and I loved the precision of it all and the pilots’ professionalism,” Cisneros said.

And he recalls fondly flying to Sioux City, Iowa, to visit his grandmother on holidays, peering out the window seat at the passing circles and squares of land below.

“From a young age I was always interested in aviation,” said Cisneros, who today is a commercial pilot with United Airlines flying international routes to Rome, London and beyond.

It’s when you learn about his flights with the military, however, that Cisneros’ story takes a dramatic turn — not to mention a heroic one.

Read the full story in the latest issue of Metropolitan Denver Magazine.