Political Scientist, Triathlete, Fighter Pilot
When I'm not trying to work out what voters know about candidates and elections, I can usually be found outdoors, swimming, biking, or running. After 21 years serving as a fighter pilot and test pilot for the Air Force, I found I could still serve my community, supporting charitable organizations as an athlete.
Team In Training, IronMan, Coach
In 2010 I joined Team In Training to prepare for my first triathlon while raising funds to support the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society. Over the next three years, I raised over $20,000 for the fight against cancer while completing three Half-IronMan triathlons and one full-distance: IronMan Coeur d'Alene.
I joined the UCLA Triathlon Team in 2014 and represented the Bruins for three years, competing in numerous collegiate races, including the 2014, '15, and '16 USA Triathlon Collegiate National Championships.
In 2015 I was certified as a triathlon coach by the USA Triathlon organization. The first group of athletes I coached was the West Hollywood "Gators" Youth Triathlon Team, which I led for four seasons.
I returned to Team in Training in 2015 as a volunteer assistant coach for their team that would be racing IronMan Canada. In addition to coaching a team of 50 cancer-fighting heroes, I was completing my own training program to race my second full-distance course: IronMan Copenhagen 2015. I have since raced IronMan Texas 2016 and IronMan Australia 2017.
Volunteering again with Team in Training, I took the position of Head Coach of the Greater LA Triathlon Team, training 40 athletes to compete in the Malibu Olympic Triathlon in 2017 and Ironman 70.3 Indian Wells 2018. For the 2019-20 triathlon season, I was the Head Coach for TNT's IronTeam, training 35 athletes for IronMan Santa Rosa and other events as they collectively raised over $100,000 to fight cancer.
US AIR FORCE
Officer, Fighter Pilot, Test Pilot
From my official bio:
Lieutenant Colonel William E. “Ajax” Peris (Ret) is the former commander of the Air Force Reserve Officer Training Corps (AFROTC) Detachment 055 at the University of California Los Angeles.
Lieutenant Colonel Peris entered the Air Force in 1991 with a Bachelor of Science degree in Astronautical Engineering and his commission through the US Air Force Academy. He holds a Master of Science degree in International Relations from Troy State University, a Master of Operations Analysis from the Air Force Institute of Technology, a Master of Arts in Political Science from UCLA, and a PhD in Political Science from UCLA. He is also a 2002 graduate of the US Air Force Test Pilot School.
After completion of Undergraduate Pilot Training in 1992, Lieutenant Colonel Peris served as a pilot in the KC-135R Stratotanker conducting aerial refueling missions worldwide, including supporting the Bosnian no-fly-zone, the aborted US invasion of Haiti, and the no-fly zones over Iraq. He was selected in 1997 to cross-train into the F-15C Eagle air superiority fighter, which he flew while stationed at Kadena Air Base, Okinawa, Japan. He flew combat missions over Northern and Southern Iraq patrolling the no-fly zone before being assigned as an instructor pilot at the F-15 Formal Training Unit at Tyndall AFB, Florida. In 2002, then-Captain Peris was selected for USAF Test Pilot School at Edwards AFB, California, after which he was an F-16 test pilot and the Chief F-15 Test Pilot for Edwards AFB. His work included developmental flight test of F-15 and F-16 engine upgrades, F-16 radar systems, foreign military sales, and the first ever guided launch of the AIM-9X missile from an F-16. After completion of study at the Air Force Institute of Technology, Lieutenant Colonel Peris returned to Edwards AFB as an instructor at the Test Pilot School before serving as the Director of Operations for the 445th Flight Test Squadron flying test and test support missions in the F-16 and KC-135. He was selected for command of the Air Force Reserve Officer Training Corps, Detachment 055 at the University of California, Los Angeles, where he served as Professor and Chair of the Aerospace Studies Department until his retirement in 2012.
He is a command pilot with over 3,000 flying hours in dozens of aircraft, including certifications as commander and instructor in the F-15C, F-16, KC-135R and C-12. He has deployed for combat tours in Turkey, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Bosnia, and Afghanistan, and has flown combat missions in operations PROVIDE COMFORT, SOUTHERN WATCH, and NORTHERN WATCH.
Rating: Command Pilot
Aircraft Piloted: F-16C, F-15C/E, KC-135R, C-12F, T-38, F-4, T-6, HU-16, LJ-24, A-10, B-17, P-3, S-3, Jaguar, Tucano, Squirel, F-18, T-43, T-1A, MB-326, various sailplanes, and the Goodyear blimp.
MAJOR AWARDS AND DECORATIONS
Meritorious Service Medal with two oak leaf clusters
Aerial Achievement Medal with three oak leaf clusters
Air Force Commendation Medal with three oak leaf clusters
Air Force Outstanding Unit Award