by Spc. Tracy R. Weeden, 101st Combat Aviation Brigade

FORT CAMPBELL, Ky. - Clarksville Academy and Northwest High School students visited 101st Combat Aviation Brigade here Feb. 5 to learn more about the history of Army Aviation, weapon systems, and the modern helicopters used today.

Distribution Platoon Leader of Company E, 6th Battalion, 101st Combat Aviation Brigade 1st Lt. Nicholas L. Craig, a native of Clarksville, Tenn., hosted an educational field trip for these high school students.

Craig gave the students a lesson on aviation history, showed them his flight equipment, gave them a hands-on understanding of Army weapon systems, and allowed them the opportunity to set foot in and explore an AH-64 Apache, OH-58 Kiowa, UH-60 Black Hawk.

There was a pilot present at each helicopter to teach the students specifically about the helicopter they fly. The pilots answered question and described to the students how the aircraft is flown.

"Learning about aviation will help students get introduced to a great deal of world history from the Civil War all the way through our current affairs in Afghanistan and Iraq," said Craig. "These students will get a chance to see and get into helicopters that have made history."

Craig, an aviation officer and UH-60 Black Hawk pilot, attended Clarksville Academy. With help from his ninth grade teacher, he invited high school students who were interested in military aviation.

Several of these students said they have parents in the military, and are interested in being a Soldier or pilot themselves someday. All the students volunteered to participate in this field trip, and it was apparent through their enthusiasm.

"I used to be in these kids\' shoes," said Craig. "Growing up around the military, I loved to watch helicopters flying overhead."

"Aviation is a huge part of our military and our local community," said Craig. "I encourage others to take the initiative in order to reach out to our local community in similar events so we can build better relationships with the local community and help develop the future leaders of our country."

Craig said that he hopes the students leave with a new understanding and appreciation for military aviation; that maybe this field trip will encourage students who may one day pursue a career in Army Aviation.