Season 1: Julian
The thrill of firing an M240H helicopter-mounted machine gun gives this soccer-playing college student another reason to consider enlisting.
The show you are watching is real. These people are not actors. You will follow a potential Army recruit with a backstage pass as they learn about Army life, careers and themselves. At the end, they’ll make a life-changing decision. Join the Army or remain a civilian. This recruit’s journey starts now.
Whether it’s bringing the fight to the enemy, backing up ground troops or rescuing wounded Soldiers, Army aviation gets the job done. To keep the aircraft ready for action around the clock takes the training, skills and dedication of a whole range of Army professionals; the 15 series Aviation Specialists. One young man will find out if he has what it takes to be an Army aviation crew member and a Soldier.
My name is Julian Chavez, I’m 19 years old, and I go to Portland Community College. What makes me consider joining the U.S. Army is being part of something way bigger than myself and being able to serve my country. What’s really holding me back from this decision to join or not to join is my girlfriend.
I obviously, like, don’t want you to go. I just want you to be safe.
I know that she doesn’t really want me to go, but she does support the decision that I’m thinking about it.
Welcome to Joint Base Lewis-McChord, home of the 46 Air Cavalry. This is where Julian will find out how high he can fly in Army aviation. He’ll start by meeting the experienced Army mentor who will guide him along the way.
Meet Sergeant First Class Will Trost. He’s an airborne qualified platoon sergeant, with 10 years of service and five tours of duty to Iraq under his belt.
Alright, this is Julian Chavez. He’s going to join us for the next few days to learn what it’s like to be an aviation mechanic in the Army.
Sergeant [inaudible] is gonna give us a class over aircraft preparation.
The reason this is important is you’re the first eyes that sees this helicopter before you stick two pilots in there to conduct their combat mission or training mission.
This is the Allison Rolls Royce engine.
This is capable of holding seven 2.75-inch rockets.
You’re gonna want to check all the electrical connectors.
Make sure you ground it.
There you go.
15 series Soldiers typically start out as ground crew and then become Advanced Technical Specialists. Some become crew chiefs and door gunners, and that’s the next phase of Julian’s training.
Alright Julian, up next you’re gonna get a block of instruction over the M240 hotel machine gun.
I’m extremely nervous but really excited at the same time, so I think I can hit the targets.
Fire when ready.
Longer burst, come on.
You’re all out.
Here’s the deal with a machine gun. If you aim too high, you don’t see your bullets. If you aim low and you’re hitting the dirt and you know where you’re at and you can adjust, that’s where the term “walking the rounds in” comes from.
There ya go! There ya go. Keep that up.
Just like getting behind that gun, feeling the power behind it as I completely tear the place up, I mean… man, that was a rush.
As a Soldier, sometimes you will accomplish your challenge the first time you do it, and you’ll feel great. And sometimes, you’re gonna fail. But you just have to adjust fire and keep moving. That’s the difference between a Soldier and a civilian.
When Army birds operate on the front lines, aviation support personnel can whip up a miniairport in the time it takes to say, “Forward arming and refueling point” or “FARP.”
Now you’re about to participate in an actual live FARP where an aircraft’s gonna come in, you’re gonna load it, it’s gonna take off.
A million and one things could possibly happen for it to go wrong but I’m gonna handle it as best as I can.
Duck down, duck down.
[Inaudible as FARP occurs]
I think I definitely have the tools to walk down that road to becoming a warrior and becoming a part of the team.
Hi… I miss you.
I miss you too, sweetheart. This past week, everything I’ve gotten to do so far has been awesome.
Do you think that you’re gonna join?
I would miss her, for sure, and I know that she’d miss me, and I know that she doesn’t really want me to go.
Julian, you’ve had quite a journey, and now it’s time to make your final decision. So, do you want to remain a civilian, or join the U.S. Army?
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