On Monday, May 8, Tony Monetti, a Republican from Warrensburg, will be announcing his candidacy for the U.S. Senate on the steps of the historic Truman Courthouse in Independence at 7 p.m. He will do the same earlier in the day in St. Louis and in Jefferson City.
Monetti’s road to Independence is a testament to the living reality of the American dream and the underrated accessibility of the Republican Party. Raffaele Antonio “Tony” Monetti was born in Brooklyn to Italian immigrant parents 51 years ago. His father was an electrician and his mother a stay-at-home mom. From as early as he could remember, Tony wanted to be a pilot. Knowing his parents could never afford flight lessons, he joined the Civil Air Patrol at 14. He took his first airplane flight in a in a Cessna 172.
For high school, Monetti attended the only school in the country where one could become an aircraft mechanic while still a student, Aviation Career and Technical High School in Queens, New York. Although Monetti graduated as an FAA-certified aircraft mechanic, his passion remained flying jets for the Air Force.
Despite the fact that he was an athlete and student body president, Monetti did not initially do well enough on the SATs to get into the Air Force Academy. His liability was that English was his second language. He was crushed when he got the news.
Three days later, in a providential moment, Monetti gave up his seat on the subway to an elderly woman. “Grazie,” the woman said, and Tony responded in Italian. When the woman noticed Monetti’s high school jacket, she mentioned that her son, Capt. Salvatore Speziale, had attended the same school and gone on to fly F-15s. More providentially still, he just happened to be home on a rare three-day leave from Japan. She invited Monetti to meet the captain.
Monetti and Speziale hit it off immediately. Using his contacts, Speziale arranged for Monetti to attend Northwestern Preparatory School in Santa Barbara, California, a school for aspiring aviators. To pay the tuition, Monetti’s father took the money he had been saving for his first ever car and gave it to his son. At the end of one intense school year in Santa Barbara, Monetti was accepted by the Air Force Academy.
After flying a B-52 in the Gulf War, Monetti volunteered to join the B-2 program and was accepted into its initial cadre. It was this program that brought him to Warrensburg where he served for fifteen years. “I was living a dream,” said Monetti.
Monetti retired from the Air Force as a lieutenant colonel with a Distiguished Flying Cross. Upon retiring, he opened an Italian restaurant in Warrensburg, but the Air Force came calling again, and he returned for three more years. In July 2012, he retired once again, this time for good. Since then he and his wife Penny have written several books that capture their love of God and and their desire to help other military people adapt to the world, especially those suffering from PTSD. He also serves as executive director of University of Central Missouri’s Skyhaven Airport and Aviation program.
“Career politicians are on notice,” says Monetti. “The people, patriots, veterans and constitutional conservatives are taking America back.” To follow Tony Monetti on Facebook click here.