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    Instructor fuels passion through new generation of Army aviators



    Story by Senior Airman Kaylee Dubois 

    Joint Base Langley-Eustis

    “It’s all I’ve ever wanted to do.”

    From a young age, U.S. Army Chief Warrant Officer 5 Bill Basabilbaso, U.S. Army Reserve 5th Battalion, 159th Aviation Regiment, 244th Expeditionary Combat Aviation Brigade command chief warrant officer, knew he wanted to be a pilot.

    Basabilbaso immigrated to the U.S. with his family from Argentina at eight years old. Now after 32 years of serving his country, he relies on experiences and lessons from those who inspired him to teach the new generation of pilots.

    In 1978, Basabilbaso joined the U.S. Navy, spending the latter part of his three-year enlistment on an aircraft carrier. After six years in the civilian sector, in 1987, he decided to apply to the U.S. Army warrant officer flight training program—a childhood dream.

    In 1989, Basabilbaso graduated flight school and was appointed as a warrant officer in 1991.

    “There’s nothing else I would rather do,” said Basabilbaso. “My role models were the Vietnam-era warrant officers who taught me how to fly,” said Basabilbaso. “As a young pilot and officer, they were who I looked up to.”

    Upon flying countless missions in places ranging from France to Iraq, his passion nurtured a desire to train as an instructor pilot.

    As a reservist, he now trains pilots during the week as a member of the Fort Eustis Air Safety Institute, and during drill weekends, he trains while donning the uniform.

    When new pilots come to Fort Eustis, Basabilbaso helps hone their skills to ensure the safety and security of aviators and crews.

    “The hardest part is having to constantly study because things never remain the same,” said Basabilbaso. “Manipulating the controls is the easy part—anyone can be taught to do that. Studying, constant learning, good judgement and experience is what makes you a pilot. We need to keep inspiring young, agile minds to be the next generation.”

    According to his students, the vital information the veteran pilot imparts on them could be the difference between life and death. He consistently reminds his apprentices to stay 10 steps ahead of the game while in the cockpit to anticipate changes or handle emergencies.

    “He is all about the Army regulations,” said Sgt. 1st Class Nathan Smith, Bravo Company, 5th General Support Aviation Battalion, 159th Aviation Regiment flight engineer. “He places emphasis on safety while teaching new pilots to hone their skills as aviators.”

    Having flown with the instructor pilot since 2003, Smith said new pilots who progress through Basabilbaso’s training graduate as well-versed Chinook aviators.

    “The love of flying keeps him coming to work every day,” said Smith. “Where else can you get paid to do something that you have such a passion for? I think he falls into that mold pretty well.”

    Each flight Basabilbaso conducts provides him with a different mix of emotions, depending on his surroundings and the mission at hand. But no matter what, Basabilbaso said he is always overcome with excitement while piloting an aircraft.

    The once young boy from Argentina with a dream of flying found his place in a nation that allowed him to experience the world. Now he prides himself in protecting that nation, giving back to fellow countrymen who fueled his desire to serve.

    “There’s nothing like flying in the U.S.,” said Basabilbaso. “The people you meet when stopping for fuel, or at a temporary-duty station are like no others; genuine Americans who never fail to thank us for what we do.”



    Date Taken: 09.21.2017
    Date Posted: 01.08.2018 17:41
    Story ID: 261597
    Location: NEWPORT NEWS, VA, US 

    Web Views: 72
    Downloads: 0