CBC is pleased to make available Jeff Niklaus' testimony, shared at Calvary Baptist Church on November 13, 2010. Jeff was the special speaker at CBC's Veterans outreach. Listen as he shares three important life lessons he learned while flying for Task Force Ranger in Somalia in 1993.
Jeff Niklaus was born in Dover, Delaware in 1961. He comes from a long military heritage dating back through his great grandfathers to the Continental Army in the Revolutionary War. His father an Air Force Senior Master Sergeant and brother an Army Sergeant Major are also both retired military.
In 1976 Jeff earned the rank of Eagle Scout. He graduated from Hughesville High School in Hughesville, PA in 1979 and in 1981 earned his Associates degree in Forestry from Williamsport Area Community College in Williamsport, PA. He went on to business studies at Penn State’s Capitol Campus in Harrisburg, PA where he also played NAIA collegiate baseball.
Jeff joined the Army in 1985 and in 1989 was accepted into the 160th Special Operations Aviation Regiment where he was soon flying the MH-60 Blackhawk helicopter. In August 1993, he deployed to Somalia as part of Task Force Ranger. On October 3rd he was Pilot in Command of Call Sign Super 67, a Blackhawk used for the Ranger blocking force during the operation. It was this mission that inspired the book and movie “Blackhawk Down”.
From 1994-1996, Jeff was selected to serve as the 160th SOAR Liaison to Special Forces Operational Detachment Delta (Delta Force) at Fort Bragg, NC. In 1996 he received Bachelor degrees in Aeronautics from Embry Riddle Aeronautical University and Business Management from Regents College of New York.
Jeff deployed on various rotations to Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom (Afghanistan). During his Army career, he served as an Instructor Pilot, Instrument Flight Examiner, and Standardization Officer.
Upon retiring from the Army in 2006, Jeff became a contractor to the US State Dept. flying in support of the Poppy Eradication Program in Afghanistan.
In late 2007, Jeff started flying for Geisinger Medical Center’s Life Flight program in Pennsylvania where he continues that work today.
Jeff and his wife Carrie reside in State College, PA.