by Shannon Royster
BRENTWOOD, Tenn. – One of the many people involved in the search to find the missing Malaysian Airlines plane is from Middle Tennessee.
To say 26-year-old Nashville native Erica Ross is driven would be an understatement.
"She got her pilot's license before she graduated from high school and then went to the naval academy and to flight school directly out of the naval academy," said Rick Glanz, Ross' father.
Glanz said it all prepared the naval aviator for her next big mission.
"She just confirmed that she's been in Malaysia for about a week," he said. "The navy sent two planes there, and she's the commander of one of those two."
Ross is part of a major coordinated search effort to locate Malaysia Airlines flight 370 that disappeared while in route to China with 239 people on board including at least three Americans.
"The plane she flies is designed to find submarines," said Glanz. "She's called the patrol plane commander, and she's in charge of the flights."
Ross is also in charge of a team of 15 crew members all hoping their training on the aircraft makes a difference. Ross and her dad spoke briefly by Skype Sunday afternoon.
Glanz said she didn't have time to say much about their efforts.
"She did mention that they switched directions," he said. "They were flying a more northerly pattern and then they started flying more to the west more toward the Indian Ocean."
While Glanz said he's very proud of what his daughter is doing, but it also has to be very scary. He said he realizes it's the nature of her job.
"If you go into the military you like to be in situations where you're counted on and you would like the tough assignments I think," he said.
This assignment may be one of the toughest yet, cracking the mystery of a plane that vanished.
"I think what she's doing is highly technical, and I think she's just focused on keeping the crew safe and accomplishing the mission," said Glanz.