From the window of his school on Long Island, New York, Corey Sheeron could see the smoke rolling from the Twin Towers on September 11, 2001. He was about to turn 14.

It was that image seared into his memory and the direct impact of 9/11 on his friends, family, community and country that would ultimately lead him to the U.S. Navy and U.S. Naval Academy.

Now a member of GE Aerospace’s Military Officer Leadership Program (MOLP), Sheeron spent almost 12 years in the Navy as a helicopter pilot and later on a four-star staff assisting with senior leader engagements in Europe.

However you slice it, he’s had an exciting career. Although Sheeron, who is measured and unflappably serene, notes it depends on your definition of exciting.

“Teaching others how to fly is an exciting experience,” he says. “As flight instructors, we help the next generation of pilots learn to work through stressful situations as a team. For example, when coaching student pilots on practice autorotations— an emergency procedure that requires coordination during a rapid rate of descent— seeing them develop over time and knowing they’ll be safer in the Fleet was very rewarding.”

Others might call it terrifying. But for him, it was another day at work.

Top: Navy veteran Corey Sheeron hugs his wife after a 10-month deployment in the Arabian Gulf. Above: Sheeron spent almost 12 years in the Navy, serving as a helicopter pilot and later on a four-star staff assisting with senior leader engagements in Europe.

A plum assignment: The XA100 team

Sheeron’s days may look a lot different since joining GE Aerospace in January through the MOLP program, which provides Veterans training and challenging assignments for officers leaving the military and starting their first civilian role.

Today he’s tasked with the next critical assignment in his career: Supporting the XA100 team.

The XA100 program is GE’s adaptive cycle engine program for the U.S. Air Force’s Adaptive Engine Transition Program. The team recently celebrated the completion of the second engine to test. Performance data gathered at the Air Force’s Arnold Engineering Development Complex (AEDC) continued to show the XA100’s transformational capability, including aircraft range, acceleration, durability and cooling power to accommodate next-generation mission systems.

“The XA100 assignment is a rare opportunity,” Sheeron says. “And to have this level of exposure to key GE leaders on a program that is offering once in a generation capability for our servicemembers — not only for the United States but also potentially our allies and partners in terms of what it could bring to the F-35 — is remarkable. It’s revolutionary what engineers at GE have done with the XA100 engine.”

Behind him on the wall in the XA100 command center, in wood block letters, is the GE Aerospace purpose statement: “We invent the future of flight, lift people up, and bring them home safely.” It’s the center of gravity for every GE Aerospace employee.

When asked what inspires him every day, Sheeron simply points to the statement on the wall.

“We really are inventing the future of flight with the XA100 program,” he says. “It is easy to tie that purpose to daily action. Every day we are working on something that will specifically benefit future pilots and help enable them to win.”

A Veteran’s View of GE Culture

Culturally, Sheeron has found GE to have much more in common with the military than it might seem, specifically GE’s leadership traits around humility, transparency, and focus.

He chuckles at the word humble, explaining that it’s perhaps not the first word people think of when hearing someone is a naval aviator. But Sheeron notes that when you’re in a multi-crewed aircraft like he was as an MH-60S mission commander, “we had a saying, ‘There’s no rank in the cockpit.’ If you see something that’s unsafe or wrong, even if you’re the most junior crew member, you have an obligation to say something and take action. It gets to the focus on safety and candor that GE Aerospace also prioritizes.”

A few weeks after this interview, Sheeron was headed to Italy as part of his Navy reserve duty to drill for several weeks. In addition to the MOLP program’s support of Veterans transition to civilian life, GE’s support extends to his responsibilities as a reservist, as well. It’s another one of the advantages of GE Aerospace and the MOLP program, he says. “The MOLP program gives Veterans not only the opportunity to rotate through several positions at GE, from commercial and military engines to even finance and communications rotations, but also the flexibility to continue their service.”

When he’s not serving reserve duty or traveling to Washington, D.C. from his home in Cincinnati to support the XA100 team, Sheeron devotes his time to his wife and three young children.

And if he can get in the occasional round of golf, even better.

Sheeron, who’s been at GE since January, lives in Cincinnati with his wife and three children.