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Face of Defense: Black Hawk Pilot Aids Soldiers

By Elaine Wilson
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Jan. 25, 2010 – Unlike many of her peers, Army 1st Lt. Kerney Scott, a Black Hawk helicopter pilot, didn’t grow up dreaming of flight.

Click photo for screen-resolution image
Army 1st Lt. Kerney Scott, far right, her five siblings and brother-in-law John Gowel, second from left, pose for a picture at her family’s home in Lorton, Va. Scott is a Black Hawk helicopter pilot and aviation officer serving in South Korea. Courtesy photo

(Click photo for screen-resolution image);high-resolution image available.

It wasn’t until she learned about the lifesaving impact of flight on soldiers that she shifted gears.

“After my brother, Andy, deployed at the very beginning of the Iraq war, he told stories of how the very best sound he and his soldiers heard during combat was helicopters flying overhead,” Scott recalled. “I wanted to provide that relief to soldiers; I wanted to do something that would directly impact the way our soldiers on the ground fight the wars.”

And that wasn’t all, she admitted. “I thought the idea of flying was really cool,” she said. “How can you turn down the opportunity to get paid for flying helicopters?”

Scott chose aviation while she was a student at the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, N.Y. After flight school at Fort Rucker, Ala., she was assigned to serve in South Korea for a year. She’s now the executive officer of an aviation maintenance company there, as well as a pilot, but it’s tough to beat flying, she said.

“It’s a very cool job,” she added. “I now have a passion for flying helicopters that I’ve developed since flight school.”

Scott cites the need to use “tough love” as the most challenging aspect of her job. It’s difficult “not always being the nice guy, because that’s often not what my company needs,” she said. “It goes against my nature to allow or watch people fail, but that is a valuable form of development in the Army.”

Scott may have a challenging job, but she has a larger-than-normal support system back home. Her father, Bruce Scott, is a retired Army major general. Her siblings -- all five of them -- are in the military as well.

“I cannot tell you what a positive experience and leadership experience serving in the military as officers has been for my daughters,” her father said. “They are self-confident, focused, and most importantly, responsible citizens of this nation.”

Scott credits her parents for the sense of service that led her into the Army.

“My parents ingrained service into our minds and our hearts,” she said. “My parents always made the military a positive experience when we were kids. Moving around was always an adventure, and we were involved in all the community and unit activities. I think we all liked the way we grew up and wanted to continue that way of life for ourselves and our children.”

Although her job may have its challenges, Scott said, she has no regrets about the path she chose.

“There is a very real bond among servicemembers that is almost impossible to explain,” she said. “People work very long hours in tough jobs, not for the money, but for a common purpose for each other. Being in that environment daily is incredibly motivating.”

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