Father's deployment inspires daughter
February 21, 2008
By Vicky Tonn
FORT RUCKER, Ala. (ARMY News Service, Feb. 25, 2008) -- Overseas deployments are difficult for both Soldiers and Family members. After a Soldier's tour concludes, post-deployment time may also be a difficult adjustment, but one Fort Rucker father's deployment to Iraq became his daughter's inspiration.
Enterprise High School 10th grader Whitney Chancellor became interested in flying for the military after her father, CW3 Chad Chancellor, a 110th Aviation Brigade UH-60 Black Hawk instructor-pilot, returned home from war.
"I want to fly like my dad in the Army. I want to fly Black Hawks," said Whitney. "I have flown in a plane and I liked being able to see a different view that other people don't see."
According to business education teacher and co-op coordinator, Kay Carmichael, Job Shadow Day allows students to talk with people who work in their field of interest to find out what education requirements and job skills are needed for that occupation.
"We hope the students will be able to learn more about the careers they are interested in and the experience will encourage them to pursue more information about that career," said Carmichael.
While in high school, Whitney is preparing for a military career. She is a member of the EHS Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps. Every Tuesday, Whitney wears her JROTC uniform to school. She had a chance to participate in the annual EHS Job Shadow Day Friday to learn more about the military.
Whitney toured the post with E Company, 1st Battalion, 212th Aviation Regiment operations officer and UH-60 Black Hawk instructor-pilot CW3 Charlene Frei.
"I just wanted to get a better feel of what I want to do," said Whitney. "I want to fly and the military can help me do that."
Whitney visited Lowe Army Heliport to see where pilots train. Frei also took her to the top of the air traffic control tower to watch helicopters take off.
Frei said Job Shadow Day is a great way to help students decide on career paths.
"I had no idea what I wanted to do in high school. If I had gotten the opportunity to go around with someone, it would have helped me," she said.
She went on to explain that it is easier to understand what people do on a day-to-day basis when you are able to spend time with them at work.
It was Frei's desire to fly that drew her to the Army. No one in her Family served in the military, but she thought flying medical evacuations would be a rewarding career, she said. Even though she hasn't had the opportunity to fly medevacs, she's flown UH-60 Black Hawks for 11 years, taught more than 180 students and deployed to Iraq and Kosovo.
"The military gives you discipline, opportunity and rewards," said Frei.
Whitney and Frei also talked with 1st Bn., 212th Avn. Regt. Battalion commander, Lt. Col. Robert Hutson.
"I appreciate you coming out to learn more about what we do and also what your dad does," Hutson told Whitney. "I think your desire to follow in your father's footsteps is very admirable. We can give you a taste of what Army Aviation is all about."
Hutson discussed with her some of the benefits the military has to offer.
"You get to travel (in the military). I have been to Korea, Washington, Germany, Bosnia, Hungry, Egypt, Iraq and Kuwait. I have been all over the world," he said.
Hutson presented both Whitney and Frei a commander's coin before they toured the aircraft simulators. Frei showed the high schooler where flight school students learn how to fly the helicopters and then Whitney saw where her dad works.
Whitney's dad taught her what he teaches his students everyday. She received a short lesson in night vision goggles and tried them.
Chad said he is proud of her and would support her desire to fly if that is what she wants to do.
"I am glad she is taking the opportunity to look now while she is 15," he said.
Whitney said she has heard her dad talk about his love for flying and the Army, despite being deployed to Iraq twice.
"I used to have an interest in animals, but when my dad came back from Iraq, I got interested in flying," she said.
Even though Whitney has two more years of high school, she is already thinking about her future. She said she knows the road to becoming an Army pilot won't be easy.
"I know there will be a whole lot of obstacles to overcome, but I am willing to try to get over them," said Whitney.