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N.C. Aviation Soldiers arrive in Lakota U-72 for career day

By Staff Sgt. Mary Junell | North Carolina National Guard | Feb. 2, 2018

RALEIGH, N.C. – Wednesday was a regular school day for the kids and teachers at Rogers Lane Elementary School - until their guests arrived in a helicopter.

Soldiers with the North Carolina National Guard's 449th Theater Aviation Brigade (449th TAB) landed their UH-72 Lakota on the field as part of a career and character event.

The Soldiers were invited with the help of the school's personalized learning coach, Heather Collins, whose husband is the commander of the 1-130th Attack Reconnaissance Battalion, 449th TAB.

"The kids at the school benefit 100 percent from seeing how they can apply their school skills outside the walls of the building," Collins said. "Any opportunity we have to connect real world experiences to our students' learning, we take advantage of." 

The Soldiers who arrived in the helicopter included pilots, helicopter maintenance, crew chiefs and administrative support, giving the children a wide scope of ways their education could be applied outside the workforce.

Collins said that leading up to the event, students learned about helicopters in the classroom, helping the students to ask more thoughtful questions.

"The earlier we can get these character traits instilled in the children, those parallel skills to academics, those life skills, the better we can get them progressed towards college and career readiness."

Lt. Col. Benny Collins, commander of the 1-130th Attack Reconnaissance Battalion, 449th TAB, said that it was important that the Soldiers talked to the students about skills that will help the children later in life, regardless of if they join the military.

"One of the reasons we came out was to talk about a few specific things like integrity, honesty, being honest with each other and what it takes to for us to trust each other in our job, between pilot, mechanic and crew chief and the fact that when we say something to each other it's true," Collins said. "We talked about having to finish school, to get a high school diploma; how in life and in the military that is very important."