By Sgt. Erica EarlAugust 23, 2019
PLOVDIV, Bulgaria-- As UH-60 Black Hawk helicopters roared overhead, paratroopers from the Bulgarian Special Forces gracefully maneuvered through the sky, their opened parachutes resembling jellyfish floating through a sky-blue ocean.
In order to safely execute these jumps, the Bulgarians needed training and assistance from U.S. Soldiers with the 3rd Assault Helicopter Battalion, 1st Aviation Regiment.
Helping with the static line jumps, also known as paradrops, was the 3-1 AHB's youngest Soldier currently assigned, Pfc. Catherine Sevigny.
The 19-year-old Sevigny, originally from Grand Forks, North Dakota, is a crew chief and Black Hawk maintainer. She has been in the Army just a little over one year, and has spent the majority of that time deployed in Europe for Atlantic Resolve.
Sevigny answered some questions about what it is like to work in aviation, her first deployment and what it has been like working alongside the Bulgarian Special Forces.
Q: What is your favorite part about your job?
A: I like that it's a lot of learning. I love the flying. Honestly, that's the best part, but I do like the maintaining part equally as much, working on the helicopter itself.
Q: What is the most challenging part about maintaining the Black Hawk?
A: Before the military, I didn't have any mechanical background at all, so just grasping all of it. Everything works together, so to truly understand one system, you have to understand them all.
Q: What is your favorite part about flying?
A: Stuff like the paradrops and NOE, Nape of the Earth, where you are flying really low to the ground and fast. That is really exciting. At first it can be scary, but you get used to it.
Q: What has been your favorite part about being here in Bulgaria so far?
A: The paradrops. It's the first time I've seen it, and to be a part of it is really fun.
While in Bulgaria, Sevigny was qualified in conducting paradrop operations alongside her peers in the 3-1 AHB.
Q: Can you describe a paradrop?
A: The paradrops we are doing today are static lines, where the paratroopers are sitting in the helicopter and they have a line connected to their parachute. They jump out, and when they get far enough away, it pulls the parachute out for them and then they fall.
Q: How has it been working alongside the Bulgarians?
A: It's really interesting. The language barrier makes it a little bit challenging, but it makes us better at our job by trying to teach someone who doesn't understand what we are saying. We have to teach them in a way that they understand.
Q: How has it been getting to see that partnership in action?
A: It's really cool, it's a lot different than I expected, but I enjoy it. The culture was different than I expected.
Q: What is it like being the youngest in your peer group?
A: Honestly, I don't really notice it too much. I notice being the new person more. You know, being younger, you just don't have as much experience, but every single one of the people in my unit teaches me something every single day.
Q: What is it like being one of the only females in your unit?
A: I mean, I've always just kinda hung out with the guys, so it's not that much different for me.
Q: What is something coming up for you that you are looking forward to?
A: Well, when we go back to the States, we have more training that we will be doing, and then we will be going to Afghanistan. I'm pretty excited about that.