Maj. Julian Gluck is a busy man. A quick scan of his LinkedIn account and it’s apparent he’s intent on squeezing as much as he can out of the life he’s been granted: Air Force Academy grad, bomber pilot, “Air Force Times” Airman of the Year, Harvard Business School, proficient in Japanese, and, to ensure the arts aren’t neglected, a bass and beatboxer in Heard on the Street – his business school’s a cappella group.
“I like to overload probably everything,” quipped Gluck, “with sleep most certainly taking the biggest hit.”
At first glance, his résumé might smack of sheer ambition, but with Gluck, something deeper is at play. He’s set on giving back, without a hint of cliché the phrase normally carries.
“Service weaves through the history of my family,” said Gluck, a major who recently transitioned from active duty to the Air Force Reserve.
“If we have the time, the talent, or the treasure to support others, I think there’s an ethical element compelling us to make a difference.”
That desire to honor the “inner value of each person” through service led Gluck to the military after high school. It was a path well worn by his ancestors. Several generations of Gluck men – and a few women – have worn the uniform, including a younger brother and two cousins who presently serve.
“Military heritage and being a part of this lineage of service is very rooted culturally in my family,” he said.
His interest in leadership and technology landed him at the Air Force Academy. There, he studied political science and Japanese, between boxing, beatboxing, cadet command, and countless volunteer commitments, of course. Ultimately, he pursued flight school and was selected to pilot the B-52H Stratofortress, the heavy bomber that has been the backbone of the Air Force for more than half a century.
“Getting selected to fly the B-52 definitely felt like being able to join a rich, storied history,” Gluck said. “I picked up a biography of Jimmy Stewart called ‘Bomber Pilot,’ which got me in the mindset of the importance that strategic bombers have played in securing peace for the United States.”
Maj. Yngwie Marroquin served as the electronic warfare officer on the same B-52 crew as part of the 96th Expeditionary Bomb Squadron. He remembers being struck by Gluck’s energy when he arrived at the unit.
“Whatever task he was given, he would put a lot of effort into it,” said Marroquin. “That was evident as he went on into his career (as a pilot), but he also would bring that same energy even when it came to stocking the snack bar or manning the ops duty desk.”
That commitment to “excellence in all we do,” one of the three Air Force core values, would soon serve Gluck and his crew well. From 2016 to 2017, they deployed to Qatar, from where they conducted bombing missions in Iraq, Syria, and Afghanistan.
“When I found out the B-52s would be returning to combat, I jumped at the chance,” said Gluck. “I found that to be the most meaningful period of my life – supporting and defending the good people of Iraq, Syria, and Afghanistan from the tyranny of ISIS and the Taliban.”
And between air interdiction and close air support sorties, Gluck found other opportunities to serve in Qatar. When he noticed the challenging life circumstances of many foreign nationals in the area, he coordinated a program to provide them with clothing and other living supplies, filling a genuine need because most of their wages would often go to support families back home.
“Many of the items were just wasting away in the sun,” Gluck said, in reference to unused care packages mailed to U.S. service members. “So, I saw that and thought, ‘Someone could use these.’”
Connecting with nonprofit agencies wherever he might be stationed or deployed has become a life habit for Gluck. He volunteers with the Civil Air Patrol, Knights of Columbus, and serves on multiple national volunteer organizations’ boards.
That passion for service – and compassion toward humanity – recently earned Gluck the attention of the U.S. Junior Chamber of Commerce, or The Jaycees, which selected him as one of its 2023 Ten Outstanding Young Americans. The award honors those under 41 who “exemplify the best attributes of the nation’s young people” and has included names as diverse as John F. Kennedy Jr., Elvis Presley, and Peyton Manning.
And in his recent move to the Air Force Reserve Gluck is serving in the Defense Innovation Unit in the Office of the Secretary of Defense, excited to be supporting its Commercial Engagement Team. By accelerating innovation and the adoption of commercial technology throughout the military, he’s helping to strengthen national security.
Marroquin, who also serves in the Air Force Reserve while in his first year of medical school, credits their time in combat for having played a role in that expanded desire to serve.
“That drove us to say, ‘I’ve experienced combat. What can I do now to better serve?’” said Marroquin. “He wants to go above and beyond. I do think he is going to keep that public service mentality.”Read comments