Aviation Family flies together at Fort Rucker
July 1, 2010
FORT RUCKER, Ala. -- As a third generation military Aviator, it's always been CW3 Josh Meyers' dream to fly with his father, John.
The duo finally shared time in the sky this spring when they flew together in a UH-60 Black Hawk here.
"My dad has been an Army Aviator since the early 1960s. I've always wanted to fly with (him). It was really cool and (an) honor," Josh said of their experience this spring.
Josh is currently a Black Hawk instructor pilot at Lowe Army Heliport with E Company, 1st Battalion, 212th Aviation Regiment, and a Maintenance Test Pilot Course student.
John retired as a major and has worked as a civilian Initial Entry Rotary Wing instruments instructor at Cairns Army Airfield since 1984. He flew a variety of fixed- and rotary-wing aircraft during his military career, ranging from the O-1 Bird Dog to UH-1 Huey.
During their time cruising over Fort Rucker and the Wiregrass, Josh said he showed his dad various maneuvers and traffic patterns. They also conducted terrain and instrument flights.
"He did extremely well considering he's never flown in Hawks," Josh said.
John said he was excited to fly in a Black Hawk's front seat, having only flown as a passenger long ago when he was a Soldier.
He was also enthusiastic about trying out the aircraft's limitations, since the TH-67 Creeks he teaches instruments on are much smaller.
"I enjoyed having some power at my disposal (compared to TH-67s). It was a neat experience," John said.
Josh's co-worker, Rodney "Sande" Sangslend, E Co. Department of the Army civilian company standardization officer, said he was happy to see his friend share this unique opportunity with his loved one. Family flights like this one are rare, but they occasionally occur, Sangslend said.
"(Josh is) a professional pilot and Aviator, and he's dedicated to his work. He's put his heart and soul into it. He's carrying out the legacy of his Family as his own personal choice," he said.
The younger Meyers said he's always looked up to his father, who set a stellar example for Josh and his 10 sisters and three brothers. John spent some of Josh's childhood serving in the Army Reserve, and his son said he always wanted to follow in his footsteps as an Army Aviator.
"He's provided well for us. He's always worked hard at his job and set an example of a strong work ethic," Josh said. "Aviation was always part of our home. The military always had something to do with our Family. I've always wanted to fly since I was a kid."
Extending even further back, Josh's grandfather flew B-17 Bombers in World War II. With a long Family legacy to continue, his Aviation dreams began to take off when Josh served in the Air Force from 1994-1998 as a special operations mechanic on MH-53 Pave Low helicopters.
He worked for civilian airlines for three years before attending warrant officer candidate school here. He started flight school in June 2001.
Outside of the examples he set and his encouragement, Josh said his father played only a small physical role in his military career. He said his dad was his guest instructor-pilot three times during simulator training in flight school, but otherwise left Josh to forge his own way in Army Aviation.
With a strong Family backing, Josh now imparts generations of knowledge to his Black Hawk student pilots today.
"I always tell my students I take what we do seriously, but it's also something I enjoy," Josh said.
Even though he is an experienced pilot, Josh still looks to John frequently for assistance.
"Since flight school, I've looked up to him. Every time I have a question, and my friends and I can't figure it out, I'll go ask him," Josh said. "(He) and his friends wrote the books (for Army Aviation). I've always been proud that's my dad."
John said he admires his son's success and hopes some of his 35 grandchildren continue the piloting legacy.
"It's a great occupation to have in life and I'm proud of him," the senior Meyers said. "He's just a gung ho guy (and) very proactive. It's fun watching him (fly)."