First Person

Chopper Calling

After graduating with a bachelor’s in Small Vessel Operations, I worked on tugs for a while, but life took me in a different direction. It brought me to the New Hampshire Army National Guard in which I became an UH-60 Blackhawk pilot in a Medical Evacuation (MEDEVAC) unit.Currently, I lead a Forward Support Medical Platoon. Our job is to operate autonomously in an oftentimes austere combat environment, and provide 24/7 MEDEVAC coverage to our fighting forces. Day or night, if we get a call, we are sprinting to our aircraft.

Stateside

When home in New Hampshire we spend most of our time training and we are available for any state missions that arise. As part of the National Guard, we are a hybrid state and federal asset. One of our most common missions is to provide aerial evacuation for search and rescue operations. We also have firefighting capability and participate in international mobilizations, including humanitarian missions.

The best part about my job is that we save lives. Whether it’s an American soldier in war zone or an injured hiker stateside, you make it possible for them to get home. I always think of their families. When we accomplish our mission, we make it possible for a mother to see her
son again or a wife to see her husband again. It’s very humbling.

MMA Experience Pays

I’ve always felt there is an affinity between the maritime trades and aviation. The skills, discipline, and work-ethic taught at MMA, and reinforced through working in the field, have been a huge asset in my military career. My maritime experience played a significant role in my being selected as an aviator.

If you’re interested in being an Army Aviator, contact a recruiter. Be ready for them to tell you it’s impossible, but don’t give up. There is an application and selection process, however, you may have to get your foot in the door by first becoming a helicopter mechanic, crew chief or other position in a flight unit. Once in, work hard, show maturity, leadership, and the ability to learn. Once you’ve built some rapport, talk to your leadership about how to apply to be a pilot.

I’d recommend aviation to anyone at MMA. I think the types of people drawn to the maritime trades are the same who would be successful in aviation.

—BY NH ARMY NATIONAL GUARD CAPT. BRADEN
HUNTER ’03

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