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Strike Fighter Returns From Duty

Strike Fighter Returns From DutyA fighter pilot on the U.S.S. Enterprise aircraft carrier, Tufts graduate Lt. Adrian Jope recently returned to the country after a six-month tour of duty in the Persian Gulf. Norfolk,Vir.

Medford/Somerville, Mass. [05.28.04] After his junior year at Tufts, Adrian Jope took flight lessons -- fulfilling his dream. Just six years later he's nothing short of a master - a strike fighter pilot with more than 80 missions flown over Iraq and Afghanistan. This week, the Tufts graduate and his F/A-18 Hornet returned to base to a hero's welcome after a six-month tour of duty in the Persian Gulf.

"There were a thousand people standing on the pier cheering and welcoming them back from harms way," Ted Jope - Adrian's father - told the La Caņada Valley Sun.

Jope -- who graduated in 1999 with a degree in bio-psychology -- received his wings from the Navy in December 2001, and recently had been deployed in the Middle East.

"I met with his senior officers, who couldn't say enough good things about what a good pilot Adrian is," Jope's father told the Valley Sun.

The Tufts graduate - who has flown eight combat missions in Iraq and Afghanistan - will return to duty in a month. He will be deployed to the Mediterranean in preparation for the Summer Olympics in Greece.

Jope's turn in the Navy hasn't been all smooth-sailing. He had a close call while flying over Iraq, when one of his jet's engines had trouble mid-flight. Forced to make an emergency landing in Kuwait, Jope's brakes failed during the landing.

"I didn't start shaking until I got out of the plane," Lt. Jope said.

Jope, who met his wife Kristin during his undergraduate years at Tufts, acknowledges the danger of his craft, but was set on following his dream.

"I have complete faith in his abilities and craft as a pilot," the senior Jope said told the Valley Sun. "The best things you can give your kids are roots and wings. His mother and I gave him roots...He literally went to the Navy for his wings. We are proud that he is using his wings and flying his dream."

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