Thursday, October 25, 2007

Private Raitt goes flying!

Nick here..

If you didn't already know, I joined the Utah Army National Guard as soon as I turned 18. Unfortunately because of my cancer I was not able to go to boot camp as planned in August. Hopefully I will be able to go this coming summer and be an official soldier in the Army. I cant wait to have a real uniform and be able to work on the Apache helicopter.

Luckily, I have some really cool Sergeants who were able to pull some strings and arrange a helicopter flight in a Blackhawk. They told me anytime I was feeling good enough there would be a chopper waiting for me. So finally the date was set and today I was able to sit in the Blackhawk as would a Crewchief would. It was one of the coolest things I have ever done and cannot wait for my next flight, whenever it might be (since I WILL be a helicopter pilot one day).

The 2 hour training flight started off with some pre-takeoff checks on the chopper, then we flew over to another little Army station and picked up a load that we carried underneath the chopper with a rope and chain to practice maneuvering with a load. The pilots did really good and I was amazed with their skill and precision. We then did some landings on mountain tops and ridges to practice landing with different winds and terrain. But the best part of the whole flight was the open terrain flying, because it involved pretty good speeds and I could not believe the degree of bank in a turn that the Blackhawk was able to do. It was awesome! We would fly pretty low through canyons and it was the coolest feeling. We happened to fly over this cowboy guy who was riding his horse, which I thought to be weird cause I believe we were still over government property, and we tried not to fly directly over him but he still decided to give us the finger. If only there was a 50 caliber mounted in front of me like there can be, I would have made him put his finger away real quick. HA just kidding. He was just jealous.

Well.. I would just like to lastly say that I had one of the coolest days today. And I would like thank Sergeant Sanchez, Sergeant Wilkinson and Captain Fontineau (sp?) for getting the flight arranged for me. It was a day I will never forget. Also, my pilots Scott and Kent who I think have me convinced that becoming a Warrant Officer is the way to go, and Sergeant Haywood (I believe that was his name, if not, I blame the chemo for memory loss) who was the Crewchief and got me all set up for flight. Last but not least, I want to thank my Mom and especially my Grandma for getting this whole thing started. I felt like a KING up there. Those pilots have it made!


Anonymous said...

Hey Nick!
Its Jasey Jensen! Man you are a lucky duck! Your pics look so awesome! I can totally see you shootin some cowboy down! ha ha just kidding! Stay Happy and positive your doin awesome!

Jennie said...

Hey Private Raitt!!! WOW!! There aren't many people who get to fly in a Blackhawk - what a great day for you. Congrats. Well done Grandma for getting the ball rolling. Keep fighting Nick and you'll be piloting one of those things one day - you look good in a flight suit. As Jasey said you are doing awesome - strength of mind, heart and determination!! GO FOR IT!! Reach your goals - you can do it. Sorry I'm out of town again during your next stint at Huntsman but I'm with you in mind and heart. See ya soon - I'm so happy that you're having such great experiences. ROCK ON!!!!
With love - Jennie xx

Chris Ulvin said...

General Raiit Extreme Apache Test Pilot - whose friends call "GREAT" for short - has just completed an important mission of clearing all government lands of "rude" cowboys.
Glad you had an awemsome week before returning for more chemo - your exciting memories can only help the week go quickly. Plus, they'll make for great stories to share with the nurses and doctors. Thanks for the update - remember to say a prayer each night - it is hopeful to all of us to see how God is answering them. Love, aunt Chris

Brad said...

PVT Raitt: One of two best days in my 20 year military career. The other jumping with my son at Airborne School, Ft. Benning, GA. My pleasure to be a small part of making it happen. Your recruiter SGT Vigil started things with the request. CPT Fontenot made it happen. The pilot and crew was awesome, the bird responded. My privilege and honor to be on the tarmac with you and your family. MSG Wilkinson