Sgt. 1st Class Jerry Potts: The accidental aviator
By Annette P. Gomes, Warrior Care and Transition

ARLINGTON, Va. - U.S. Army Sgt. 1st Class Jerry Potts followed in his father's footsteps by joining the military. He completed six deployments as an infantry specialist, but in the back of his mind, he often thought about living out his childhood dream.

"I've always had a fascination with aircraft. As a kid, I loved to build model airplanes. I wanted to become a pilot one day, but that didn't happen," Potts said.

After leaving the XVIII Airborne Corps Headquarters as the Equal Opportunity Advisor, Potts took a position with the Warrior Transition Battalion at Fort Bragg, North Carolina. Shortly after joining the WTB as cadre, years of medical issues began to catch up with him. Potts went from being a cadre member to a Soldier in transition. The change in status led to a chance connection on social media that changed his life.

"The WTB set myself and my family up for success. I started thinking about the future. I began a teaching internship with Emerging Technology Institute, a software company that specializes in drone operations after connecting on LinkedIn. I also began studying to get my Federal Aviation Administration license and began buying some small inexpensive drones," Potts said.

During his internship, Potts was responsible for preparing students [Soldiers] to take their Federal Aviation Administration Examination while teaching them to fly as well.

"I love what I do, particularly helping others fulfill their dreams as well. I can't imagine doing anything else than what I'm doing. It has been a dream come true," Potts said.

After 21 years of military service, Potts will retire in May. He has a job opportunity with a local company upon completing is internship this spring.