The News Courier in Athens, Alabama

State and Nation

March 21, 2013

Boeing worker mentors 'Barefoot Bandit' in prison

(Continued)

At boot camp, he got caught with drugs and instead of sending him home, the Navy captain in charge of the base offered him a second chance — warning Standridge that he'd be following his career.

Standridge spent seven years in the Navy, four on the flight deck of the U.S.S. Constellation aircraft carrier, where watching the F-14 fighter jets fostered a love of airplanes that began in boyhood, when his father would take him to watch the planes at Will Rodgers World Airport in Oklahoma City.

He went on to graduate from Seattle University in 1997, the same year he began working for Boeing. He stresses that his involvement with Harris-Moore is on his own time, not a company-sanctioned initiative.

At their first meeting, Harris-Moore walked into the visiting room amid a line of other convicts. Sunburned from being in the prison yard, he wanted to know why Standridge was taking such an interest in him. Standridge told him the story of the Navy captain.

"Even today I think about it. Without that second chance, I would not be where I am today," he said. "That is what I'm passing on to Colt, the opportunity for that future."

He made Harris-Moore promise that he'll repay the favor when he gets his life re-established. They shook hands on it.

While he declined to get into some specifics about their conversations, Standridge said Harris-Moore badly wants to get a pilot's license and hopes one day to design prototype aircraft. Harris-Moore has said he wanted to get an aeronautical engineering degree while in prison. They talk about planes, corporate governance, management techniques, body language, and books — Steve Jobs' authorized biography was a favorite of Harris-Moore's, he said.

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