Written by MIDN 4/C De Abreu
Photos by MIDN 4/C Person
It was 1200 on 02 April when MIDN at the MIT and BU wardrooms received the devastating news that the previously planned helicopter rides would not be happening due to the weather conditions. Nevertheless, all midshipmen made the 40-minute journey to Hanscom AFB, where the HSC-26 squadron was still meeting them. The group did not let the Boston weather keep them from learning more about the aviation community.
Upon arriving, the MIDN were warmly greeted by both officer and enlisted members of the crew. Based out of Norfolk, VA, the Helicopter Sea Combat squadron better known as the Chargers made the trip to Boston in their own bird the night before. They were excited to see everyone and ready to discuss any questions we had about aviation in general or mission specific questions that the crew had been involved in.
MIDN gained useful information about the career pipeline for aviation, especially on how to get through flight school. Two of the officers actually started out at NROTC units at GeorgiaTech and Penn State, so they provided really useful information about what the MIDN should be doing during college in preparation for naval aviation.
After talking, the MIDN got a chance to go outside and look at the squadron’s MH-60. Here, MIDN interacted more with the enlisted crewmembers who were at work repairing and maintaining the aircraft. The most exciting part for MIDN was probably getting to sit in the pilot’s seat.
The biggest take away from the day was learning about the helicopter community, as opposed to just aviation in general. The most commonly repeated phrase heard from the crew was, “Helicopters are awesome!” Bias aside, many of the MIDN noticed what a tight knit group the squadron had, and how they really loved the work they were doing for the Navy.
It’s safe to say the midshipmen were very motivated about helos on the ride back to campus.