Veterans Voices: Retired Captain trades cockpit for classroom

Veterans Voices

CHAMPAIGN, Ill. (WCIA) — “There are generations of naval aviators like me that will say the same thing, ‘Oh I saw Top Gun. I want to do it, whatever it takes.'”

Anthony Corapi’s mind was set. You could say he was Goose.

“When people say so what did you do in the airplane? The magic happens in the back. So that’s where I sat,” Corapi remembered.

His career took off as fast as the plane he learned how to fly. His first job was enforcing the embargo on the former Yugoslavia.

“I was 25 years old. And the Navy entrusted me to say, ‘Go do this.’ It was a little scary.”

The assignments kept coming. Over the years, Corapi chased drug runners and Russian submarines, launched strikes against Afghanistan after 9/11, worked at the Pentagon, and eventually commanded his own squadron.

“All of that experience and all those things I did as a younger officer now I get to employ,” said Corapi.

But earlier this year after 29 years in Navy it was time to retire and time to put family first.

“We were tired of moving,” Corapi said. “We moved a lot 13 times in our married life. It was time to put a little bit of roots down.”

It just so happened a new job opened up at his son’s school, The High School of Saint Thomas More.

“I believe in what I did for the country in serving and this was a chance to serve the church, the school and the community and I thought, perfect fit.”

The retired Captain is the Chief Operating Officer here. His list of duties is long, everything from the budget to security to discipline.

“Working with young sailors and marines is a lot like working with these kids. They think the same way. Implusive, not always thinking about the ramifications. So working with kids is a natural.”

It’s his job to hold them accountable.

“They don’t show up here perfect. Our job is that they leave here better than then we got them.”

A different uniform but still a mission. Maybe not as exciting as flying a plane but with teenagers every day is still an adventure.

“I get up and think what’s the next challenge today because it does keep you on your toes.”

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