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Sam Eckholm

Sam Eckholm is a popular aerospace and defense YouTuber.

He has 417K subscribers on his eponymous YouTube channel.


Samuel Eckholm was born in 1997 in Dallas, Texas, United States.

He grew up in Dallas.

His father worked as a pilot at the United States Air Force (USAF) for a decade and currently, he works as a commercial pilot at American Airlines and flies Airbus aircraft.

Sam has a younger brother, Luke Eckholm.

Love for Air Force-

Sam was inspired by his father to join USAF.

His father studied from the Air Force Academy and later, joined the USAF and flew tankers.

Sam grew up listening to his father’s amazing experiences at both the Air Force Academy and USAF and thanks to this, he decided to grow up to become a fighter pilot at USAF.

He was particularly impressed with father’s skydiving and survival training experiences.

In his childhood, Sam revered Blue Angels, a flight demonstration squadron of the United States Navy.

Joining the Air Force Academy-

While in his freshman year of high school, Sam set himself a goal to join the Air Force Academy.

And started working hard in his high school as he knew that good grades would help him to get an admission into the Air Force Academy and he also started taking up leadership opportunities.

He was keen to join the academy because he knew that he would have a guaranteed job by becoming an Air Force officer and his life would be set and also, he could choose flying or many other career fields apart from flying and travel the world.

Sam interviewed with a congressman in Dallas and got nominated to go to the Academy.

It is required to receive a nomination from either a United States congressman, senator or Vice President to join the academy.

After a couple of weeks of graduating from high school, Sam joined United States Air Force Academy located in Colorado Springs, Colorado in June 2014.

Here, he received the six-week long basic cadet training and he became a cadet.

Sam also spent some time at West Point in the Naval Academy.

Later, as a senior in the Air Force Academy, he had an opportunity to be a squadron commander and led his whole squadron of 130 cadets.

Sam graduated in May 2018 with a major in Legal Studies from the same squadron as his father.

After graduating, he came out as a second lieutenant officer.

Second lieutenant officer is the lowest rank in the Air Force.

Receiving Parachutist Badge-

Sam also did a parachute course in the academy.

As a part of the parachute course, he received 30 hours of ground training out at the academy airfield and he received training from the Wings of Blue team.

A couple of days later, Sam boarded a Twin Otter aircraft and after reaching 10,000 feet he jumped out of the plane and did four more jumps and received his Parachutist Badge.

Working for a congressman-

After his junior year, Sam did an internship for eight weeks in summer for a congressman in Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C. for his Cadet Summer Research Program.

This congressman previously helped him by nominating him to the Air Force Academy.

As a part of the internship, Sam gave tours to the constituents of the Capitol, worked on policy and attended different meetings.

Choosing public affairs over becoming a pilot-

Even though initially Sam wanted to become a pilot, in his junior year, he changed his decision as he didn’t want to get into a 12-year time commitment as he was unsure about working in the Air Force for 12 years.

Thanks to an Air Force program, he went to the Travis Air Force Base in California and here, he came across the public affairs career field.

Here, Sam spent eight weeks in the public affairs shop learning everything about it.

He was impressed by airmen writing stories, editing videos and shooting photos and as he too loved all of these and social media, he decided to pursue public affairs.

So, Sam chose public affairs as the number one on his list and as he worked hard and secured good ranking in his class, he got public affairs.

Becoming a Public Affairs Officer-

After graduating from the United States Air Force Academy in May 2018, Sam became a Public Affairs Officer at the United States Air Force.

He was stationed at the Langley Air Force Base.

Public Affairs involves social media (producing photos and videos), community relations (managing speaking engagements and doing air shows all around the world) and media (interviewing teams and storytelling).

Since a young age, Sam has been passionate about photography and videography, and this greatly helped him in his job.

He worked as a Public Affairs Officer until November 2022.

Working for the F-22 Demonstration Team-

As Sam was impressed by the F-22 Demonstration Team, he applied to join the team.

And from January 2019 to January 2021, he worked as a Social Media Manager for the F-22 Demonstration Team.

Sam also worked as a photographer and videographer and was a second lieutenant here.

One of the roles of this job was to inspire people to join the Air Force either through social media or in-person.

Throughout his college and career, Sam flew in many aircraft like Lockheed C-5 Galaxy, Boeing C-17 Globemaster, Boeing KC-135 Stratotanker, McDonnell Douglas KC-10 Extender, Northrop T-38 Talon, North American T-6 Texan, gliders, etc.

His YouTube channel-

Sam started his eponymous YouTube channel on 11 September 2012.

On 12 January 2013, he published the first video, ‘Asking My Date to Homecoming’.

Sam started publishing aviation videos on his channel only from April 2020.

As of December 2023, he has 417K subscribers on his YouTube channel, 152K followers on Instagram and 64K followers on his Facebook page.

Sam earns from advertisements and ‘Super Thanks’ on his YouTube channel and affiliate marketing.

He uses a Nikon camera and uses a MacBook for editing his videos.

He has a website.

Personal life-

Sam is in a relationship with Swayne Martin.

Swayne is a pilot and much like him, he too is a popular YouTuber.

While working for the F-22 Demonstration Team, Sam met Swayne at an air show hosting a social media panel and speaking and this started their relationship.

Sam lives in St. Louis, Missouri.

So, how are you inspired by the success story of Sam Eckholm?

Share with me in the comment section below.

About Author

Hello folks, I'm Naveen Reddy.
I love writing the inspiring success stories of people so as to inspire you.
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Frank DAleo

Sunday 26th of February 2023

Naveen, Sam did not “join” the Air Force Academy. Like all US Military Academies, he first had to apply to his Congressional representative for a Congressional appointment. Prospective students for all three Academies; Air Force, Annapolis (Navy-Marine Corps) and West Point (Army) must do so. Exceptions are direct appointments for the children of Medal of Honor recipients. So you don’t just decide to “join” one of the academies.

Naveen Reddy

Sunday 26th of February 2023

Hi Frank, thanks for the valuable information, I've updated the post accordingly.