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shop online at www.missourivalleyshopper.com November 22, 2016 • Page 9 Dream Of Flying, Serving Others Inspire SD Guard Soldiers To Become Pilots By Spc. Kristin Lichius 129th Mobile Public Affairs Detachment RAPID CITY, S.D. - South Dakota Army National Guard Chief Warrant Officer 2 Damon Lappe knew from an early age that he wanted to be a pilot. Growing up, he dreamed of attending the Air Force Academy to fly the planes he had seen in the skies over Ellsworth Air Force Base. Then one day, when he was 12 years old, Lappe saw several HH-60M Black Hawk helicopters fly over his house. The whirring of the blades, the stealthy shadows that swept across the ground and the sudden wind stirred his determination, and he decided he was going to do whatever it took to become a Black Hawk pilot. "I knew I wanted to fly," said Lappe. "I always dreamed of being like Tom Cruise in "Top Gun." Lappe wasn't the only one who was enchanted by the idea of becoming a pilot. Capt. Brittany Pearson, who was already enlisted in the SDARNG, was approached by a Reserve Officer Training Corps recruiter. For Pearson, one conversation with an aviation officer changed her life and planted the seed that started her dream of becoming a pilot. Attending the ROTC program in college is one way to start the path to becoming a program and currently has several openings for qualified applicants. "The job requires us to have a vast amount of knowledge," said Pearson. "It's more than just knowing how to control the helicopter. You have to know about aerodynamics and the aircraft itself, different systems, flight rules, emergency procedures and much more." In order to attend Army Aviation School, applicants must meet a rigorous list of requirements in order to apply. An applicant considering becoming an aviator must take several tests, including the Selection Instrument for Flight Training test, a flight physical examination, and achieve a high enough score on the Armed Forces Vocational Aptitude Battery. "When you think about a pilot, [such as] Tom Cruise in "Top Gun" - the movies never show the amount of studying, reading, hard work he would have had to do to obtain that skill," said Lappe. "It's an incredibly demanding job." After almost 2 years of intense training, Pearson and Lappe were finally ready to own the sky. "Getting out and flying over the badlands, seeing the beautiful country from the cockpit is unlike anything else you've ever experienced," said Lappe. Although flying is their U.S. Army Chief Warrant Officer 2 Damon Lappe and Capt. Brittany Pearson, with Company C, 1st Battalion, 189th Aviation Regiment, South Dakota Army National Guard, conduct preflight checks in a HH-60M Black Hawk helicopter at the Army Aviation Support Facility in Rapid City, S.D., Nov. 5, 2016. Pearson and Lappe made their dream of flying a reality by serving in the SDARNG. (U.S. Army National Guard photo by Spc. Kristin Lichius) South Dakota Army National Guard pilot. Lappe chose another path and attended Warrant Officer Candidate School. Once graduated, both Pearson and Lappe attended Army Aviation School to specialize in flying the Black Hawks of the Rapid City-based Company C, 1st Battalion, 189th Aviation Regiment. The 189th's primary mission is to provide aerial medical evacuation during natural disasters or emergency operations and to support U.S. military personnel in a theater of war or during peacekeeping operations. Pearson and Lappe said the unit is looking for more Soldiers for their pilot U.S. Army Capt. Brittany Pearson and Chief Warrant Officer 2 Damon Lappe are HH-60M Black Hawk helicopter pilots with Company C, 1st Battalion, 189th Aviation Regiment, South Dakota Army National Guard, at the Army Aviation Support Facility in Rapid City, S.D., Nov. 5, 2016. Pearson and Lappe made their dream of flying a reality by serving in the SDARNG. (U.S. Army National Guard photo by Spc. Kristin Lichius) passion, both Pearson and Lappe also have demanding civilian careers. Lappe works as a police officer for the Rapid City Police Department. When he's not fighting crime, Lappe has to ensure he makes time to meet his flight hour requirements. Between the long hours at the department and even longer flight hours, Lappe spends as much time as he can with his wife and two kids. During her time away from the flight line, Pearson works as a 7th grade school teacher. She also commits her time to coaching various middle school sports including basketball and volleyball. She spends long hours preparing lesson plans and game plays in order to make time to get her flight hours in every other week. "My students see that I can pursue my dreams and goals in different areas, and I feel like I am a good role model to them in that aspect," said Pearson. For the 189th pilots, flying isn't just about accomplishing a dream. The aviators play an important role serving the state of South Dakota and the nation. Often times, the Black Hawk crews are called in by the state to rescue stranded or wounded hikers. The Black Hawks are also able to fly, carrying loads of water to provide fire suppression support when forest fires break out over the Black RON’S AUTO GLASS Auto Home Commercial ALL 1915 Broadway, Yankton, SD GLASS 605-665-9841 AFFORDABLE 2008 Chevy Impala LS Hills. "It's a surreal moment," said Pearson. "You look around you, and there's other aircraft flying by and people constantly talking on the radios. It's like working in a well-oiled machine." The flight crews use the same skills they use to rescue hikers to rescue wounded service members in battle. "We are medevac, and we are there to save people's lives," said Pearson. "When that radio goes off, you get chills and it's time. You know that you're with the best crew, and you're going to do whatever it takes to get your patients home." Saving lives is what the 189th pilots do. It took innumerable hours, incredible amount of hard work and dedication, and many sacrifices along the way, but in the end they accomplished their dreams of becoming pilots. Whether they are out serving the community in their civilian roles, in uniform serving the state, or overseas serving the country, the 189th pilots like Pearson and Lappe are making a difference in peoples' lives wherever they go. ST. JUDE NOVENA Oh Holy St. Jude, Apostle and Martyr, great in virtue and rich in miracles near Kinsman of Jesus Christ, faithful intercessor of all who invoke your special patronage in time of need, to you I have recourse from the depths of my heart and humbly beg to whom God has given such great power to come to my assistance. Help me in my present and urgent petition. In return I promise to make your name known and cause you to be invoked. St. Jude, pray for us and all who invoke your aid. Amen, say three Our Fathers, three Hail Mary’s and Glory’s for nine consecutive days. Publication must be promised. St. Jude pray for us all who invoke your aid. Amen. This Novena has never been known to fail. Thank you St. Jude. Art For State Buildings Proposals Sought PIERRE — South Dakota artists have until Feb. 24, 2017, to submit purchase proposals for the Art for State Buildings Program. The Art for State Buildings program was created for the purpose of adding the work of talented South Dakota artists to the state’s permanent art collection for display in areas of state government buildings with significant public access. Work purchased will be installed in public access areas of the Capitol and/or other state buildings on the Capitol Complex in Pierre. Proposals for purchase should be submitted to the South Dakota Arts Council, the agency charged with managing the program. South Dakota artists whose body of work has contributed to the state’s cultural heritage and development are encouraged to apply. Proposals will be reviewed by an advisory committee to the South Dakota Arts Council. Selection will be based on: • quality of the work; • the artwork’s relevance to South Dakota environment, history, heritage or culture; • experience of the artist; • permanence and safety, as required for public artworks. For a complete request for proposal, visit www.artscouncil.sd.gov, call 605-773-3301, email sdac@state.sd.us or write the South Dakota Arts Council at 711 E. Wells Ave., Pierre, SD 57501. An office of the South Dakota Department of Tourism, the South Dakota Arts Council’s mission is to provide grants and services to artists, arts organizations and schools across the state with funding from the National Endowment for the Arts and the state of South Dakota. The South Dakota Department of Tourism is comprised of Tourism and the South Dakota Arts Council. The Department is led by Secretary James D. Hagen. Advertise with the... In Print and Online! Call 665-5884 HURRY! Rebates End Soon! You Can Be This Comfortable Spring, Summer, Fall & Winter! With a new comfort system from.. 2500** in incentive savings $ or 4 years no interest* *With approved credit, certain restrictions apply. 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