JROTC Students Take Helicopter Rides Around Farmington

On Tuesday, April 25, 2023, the Junior ROTC classes spent the day with Missouri Army National Guard Aviation from Fort Leonard in UH-60 Black Hawk helicopters for orientation flights around Farmington. Pilot in Command, Chief Warrant Officer 3, Peter J. Thelen, Pilot First Lieutenant, Alexander M. Meury, and Crew Chief, Staff Sergeant, Timothy W. Masters. took time on Tuesday Morning to come down and give students a once in a lifetime experience.

When asking Crew Chief, SSG Timothy W. Masters why he thinks it’s important for students to have these experiences, he says, “Taking a flight in an UH-60 M Blackhawk gives the students the unique experience that not many people, let alone soldiers, get to experience. These students may never ride on a helicopter again or even a plane. I know of several Army personnel that have never taken a flight on a helicopter. Doing these types of events is a great recruiting tool, this may lead a student to join the Army or any branch of military service. If they do join the Army, whether it be active Army or National Guard they may think of becoming a pilot or crew chief. Also, with enough determination and positive attitude anything is possible, even becoming an aviator. It also shows that there are more career opportunities outside of the traditional paths.”

Sergeant Vaughn, the JROTC class instructor has some insight as to why it’s important that students get these experiences and his very own experiences with a helicopter.

“Why do you think it’s important for students to have these experiences?”

Sergeant Vaughn: “Flying in a helicopter is a once in a lifetime opportunity that may not be available to everyone. The main benefit, I believe, is just the experience of doing something new and finding out if you like it. Also, we have several students that are interested in being medical personnel, like a flight nurse and medic on aircraft and pilots, so this was a great opportunity for them to experience what being in the air is like.”

“Have you ever been in a helicopter before this? If yes, how long has it been?”

Sergeant Vaughn: “I’ve been on a helicopter only a few times prior to this trip. The last time that I rode a helicopter was during my second tour in Iraq. I remember the exhilarating feeling of being in the air hovering above the base. Being in the helicopter would be my preferred form of transportation if given a choice.”

“What’s your favorite and least favorite part?”

Sergeant Vaughn: “My favorite part of flying is the little bit of fear that I feel when leaving the ground. I’m not in control and that scares me, but it also gets me out of my comfort zone which is very beneficial. I don’t have a least favorite part as of yet. I thoroughly enjoyed all my flights thus far.”