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    Part-time job, full-time commitment: Idaho Army National Guard flight crew maintains civilian careers

    Part-time job, full-time commitment: Idaho Army National Guard flight crew maintains civilian careers

    Photo By Master Sgt. Becky Vanshur | The Army National Guard gives members the opportunity to serve their community, state...... read more read more



    Story by Maj. Robert Taylor 

    Idaho Army National Guard

    In the early morning of April 28, three Idaho Army National Guard UH-60M Black Hawks take off from Gowen Field. The flight is the first of the day for the 1st of the 183rd Assault Helicopter Battalion’s flight crews, who will transport more than 60 U.S. Marines to the Jarbridge Military Operations Area and back to conduct a training mission as part of Operation Garnett Rattler 2022.

    Seven of the 10 Soldiers conducting the flight mission are part-time Soldiers, including the air mission commander and the pilot in command of the lead helicopter, 1st Lt. Colton Ankeney.

    “The National Guard was born on the value of the citizen-Soldier,” said Lt. Col. Nicole Washington, 1-183rd AHB commander. “It’s people in the community, citizens, doing their normal everyday job and also carving out time to serve in the National Guard to support their community.”

    Ankeney, a small business owner, was joined by 1st Lt. Lucas Glauser in the cockpit with Spc. Brogan Schaeffer as the flight’s crew chief. Glauser is a civil engineer and Schaeffer took a day off from teaching high school to spend the day in the sky.

    “It really breaks up the monotony of teaching to have something on the side that’s completely different,” Schaeffer said.

    The Idaho Army National Guard gives each crew member the opportunity to serve their community, state and nation while pursuing their civilian careers.

    For Ankeney, the Guard also gave him the chance to remain in Idaho after moving from California to attend Boise State University.

    “I liked Idaho too much to leave and I wanted to stay here,” he said of his decision to join the National Guard instead of the active duty Army. He grew up wanting to fly helicopters and joined Boise State’s ROTC program for the sole purpose of commission and becoming a pilot. He commissioned in 2016 and attended flight school shortly after.

    In 2018, he saw a YouTube video about a custom van someone had built for camping. He thought a van would be perfect for him and his two favorite hobbies: surfing and snowboarding. He watched more YouTube videos and completed his own van in 2019. He was staying in his van and flying tourist through the Grand Canyon when the pandemic started.

    The pandemic put an end to his flights and around the same time, he started to notice how much people were selling customs vans for. He bought a van and built it out, which made him realize that it was something people were interested in spending money on. So, he built another three for customers who already owned their vans. He’s currently working on his sixth van and has his own YouTube channel.

    Ankeney spends his days working in his garage and flies for the Idaho Army National Guard once or twice a week.

    “It’s a pretty awesome set up,” he said. “I can do what I want to during the day but still have the flexibility to come in and fly helicopters. It’s such a cool thing, that you get to take out this $15-16 million helicopter and do some awesome training.”

    Glauser spends his days working in an office as a civil engineer. The Garden Valley native always wanted to be a pilot. When he was a young kid, he watched a helicopter pilot lose an engine while filling up a water bucket to fight a nearby wildfire. He said the pilot was able to recover the aircraft and safely fly out of the canyon with only one engine. He later learned that the pilot had previously been an Army aviator, something that stuck with him and set him on his own path of becoming an Army aviator himself.

    Glauser joined the Idaho Army National Guard in 2016 and currently serves as a company commander for D Company, 1-183rd AHB. Last summer he got the opportunity to fight fires from a helicopter after Gov. Brad Little activated the Idaho National Guard to fight fires in Northern Idaho.

    He likes the challenge every flight presents.

    “You don’t just show up and hop into a helicopter,” he said. “It’s like a little puzzle you have to put together every time you fly.”

    Schaeffer said putting the puzzle together requires everyone to be at their best.

    “It’s amazing to be in the air,” she said. “The freedom and the view. Everyone has to be on their A-game. There’s no room for error.”

    Schaeffer enlisted into the Idaho Army National Guard 2.5 years ago. She said she was looking for a new way to challenge herself and looked into the Idaho Army National Guard because her brother had enlisted five years earlier.

    “I had been following my brother around for 30 years,” she said. “I had to follow him into the Guard too.”

    Her brother, who is on his way to becoming a pilot, enlisted as a supply clerk but told Schaeffer that if she was going to join, she should join as a 15T Black Hawk helicopter mechanic.

    “I love my job,” she said. “I have the best job in the Army.”

    Schaeffer’s day job is teaching English at Burley High School. She said her school has been supportive of her second career.

    “We rely heavily on mainlining positive relationships with employers,” said Washington. “We rely on them giving their employees the flexibility to support our mission. There’s no way we’d be able to be successful without our Soldiers being able to balance their time away from their full-time jobs and their families.”



    Date Taken: 05.04.2022
    Date Posted: 05.04.2022 23:42
    Story ID: 419986
    Location: BOISE, ID, US 

    Web Views: 92
    Downloads: 0