News of our Armed Forces

Former La Cañadan Michael Diaz, son of Ron and Trisch Diaz, was recently promoted to the rank of major in the Texas National Guard.

He was mobilized to federal active service in 2003 for the ongoing peacekeeping mission in Bosnia and Herzegovina. His current assignment is executive officer of the 49th Finance Battalion in Austin, Texas.

A 1989 graduate of La Cañada High School, Diaz went on to earn a bachelor of arts degree in political science from Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo, in 1993. He received a master of arts in human services degree in 2002 from St. Edward's University in Austin, Texas, and is working toward a master's in business administration from the same university.

Diaz is employed at Dell Inc. Round Rock, Texas, as a program manager in client technical support. He lives with his wife, Jan, and their 6-year-old daughter, Alyssa, in Round Rock.


U.S. Air Force 1st Lt. Brian C. Taliaferro has graduated from specialized undergraduate pilot training at Columbus Air Force Base, Miss. The 1998 St. Francis High School graduate earned silver wings with an aeronautical rating of pilot in the Air Force.

Student pilots start the 52-week SUPT program by attending a three-week preflight phase consisting of academics and physiology training for flight preparation. Followed by phase two primary training conducted in T-37 Tweet aircraft to learn flight characteristics, emergency procedures, takeoff and landing procedures, aerobatics and formation flying. Students also practice night, instrument and cross-country navigation.

Each training phase includes extensive hours of ground events, flight simulator, day and night flying, and flight related instruction. Students receive instruction on flight formation, navigation, low-level navigation flying, visual and instrument transition, radar cell formation, and simulated refueling and airdrop missions.

After primary training, students move on to advanced training in one of several tracks. Students selected for fighter-bomber assignments fly the T-38A aircraft; airlift-tanker students fly the T-1A aircraft; multi-engine turboprop students fly the C-130 aircraft, and helicopter students fly the UH-1 Huey at their assigned bases or stations.

Taliaferro is the son of Katie A. Taliaferro of Rockland Place, La Cañada Flintridge, and Bill A. Taliaferro of Venice. The lieutenant is a 2002 graduate of Azusa Pacific University.

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