ABERDEEN PROVING GROUND, Md. -- A local Eagle Scout explored a military aviation career here Nov. 18 with the help of the Maryland Army National Guard.

Steven Burkins, 16, joined five Guardsmen from a medevac crew at Weide Army Heliport to earn his aviation badge. Chief Warrant Officer 5 Daniel Chapman explained the many training, educational and physical requirements to become a military pilot.

Chapman then briefed Burkins on pre-flight check procedures in a UH-60 Black Hawk helicopter. Burkins joined Chapman and Staff Sgt. Chris Willey atop the aircraft for a maintenance check and inspection. The Maryland medevac crew deploys to Afghanistan in March.

Maj. Gen. Nick Justice, APG senior installation commander, joined the Black Hawk crew and Burkins on the tarmac. Burkins met Justice in January at a Boy Scouts of America awards reception.

A Boy Scout since age 5, Burkins attends York County School of Technology and plans to study fire science in college. He hopes to work as a Baltimore City firefighter. He has been a member of the Whiteford Volunteer Fire Company for four years.

Burkins said he has been interested in aviation since he was a small child and hopes to join the National Guard to train as a helicopter pilot. He started work on his aviation badge with classroom instruction during a Boy Scouts jamboree at Fort A.P. Hill, Va. His visit to APG will satisfy the practical requirements for his badge.