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Minnesota National Guard
Aspiring pilot gets first-hand look at military aviation

Minnesota National Guard An Owatonna High School senior, aiming to learn more about rotary aircraft and flying in the military, received an exclusive tour of the 34th Combat Aviation Brigade's Army Aviation Support Facility #1 in St Paul on April 26

Thanks to a new industry mentorship program taking place in the Owatonna school system, high school senior Taylor Isakson visited the facility with her industry mentor, David Beaver, the Owatonna Regional Airport manager

"We've been working with airport managers on how we train and what we do as part of our Fly Neighborly program," said 1st Lt David Veth, the training officer for the 2nd Battalion, 147th Assault Helicopter Battalion, 34th Combat Aviation Brigade "This time, Mr Beaver reached out to us and asked if Taylor could come to the 34th CAB to learn about Army aviation and helicopters"

Soon after Isakson and Beaver arrived at the facility, Veth brought them to the hangar to show off one of the rotary aircraft the Minnesota National Guard flies, the UH-60 Black Hawk helicopter Isakson took a seat in the cockpit as Veth explained all about flying in the military and how to make that dream come true

"If you want to be in aviation, you need to be at the top of your class," Veth said "Once you're here, you're going to fly helicopters and get paid doing it There's something to be said about that"

"I like the feeling of being up in the air," Isakson said after she was asked why she was interested in flying "I want to be the pilot that flies in to help when there's a disaster"

With Isakson's interest in flying seemingly in step with the federal and state active duty missions - such as medical evacuation flights downrange and the stateside fire-suppression and flood response missions - normally tasked to the Minnesota National Guard aviation unit, Veth said, "If the goal is to fly helicopters, the military is the best way to get those hours"

At the conclusion of the tour, Veth promised to guide Isakson along if she were to choose the military as a means to fulfill her wish to fly

Additionally, Veth was able to explain to Beaver all about military aviation and efforts to mitigate encroachment issues military installations and the surrounding communities sometimes face

April 26, 2013
Story and photos by Staff Sgt Patrick Loch
34th Combat Aviation Brigade Public Affairs

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