UH60 Blackhawk Pilot: Army Reserve Careers

CPT Chalas joined the Army Reserve to pay for college. She became a finance specialist a military intelligence interrogator and then found her true calling as a UH 60 Blackhawk pilot.

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My name is Captain Marisol Chalas. I'm the commander for Alpha Company 7158 Aviation and I'm also a pilot in command for a UH-60. My hometown is Lane, Massachusetts.

I actually joined the Army when I was still in high school over 20 years ago. And the primary reason why I did it was to pay for college and since I've really developed a pride and love for it, and here I am 20 years later.

Being a Reservist, especially in aviation, we do have a mandatory one weekend a month and your two-weeks in the summer. But in order to stay proficient in aviation we have additional flight training periods where a lot of the Soldiers come in either during additional weekends or in during the week to maintain proficiency.

Having a reserve career and a civilian career can be a little challenging but again the foundation is having a civilian job that understands your commitment to the military.

Both my civilian job and the reserve job they are interrelated. In order to be successful in your civilian job you need the support from the military. In order to be successful in the military you also need the support for your civilian job, since they both have different requirements.

I've been successful in my civilian job because of the military. You develop leadership, you understand what your strength and weaknesses are and you also understand that your strengths are beyond what you think what your really can do.

When I first joined in 1990, I came in as a private and my job initially was a finance specialist and then an MI interrogator.

I love being an enlisted Soldier because it gives you the foundation to be a good leader. I did want to fly. I became an officer to be a pilot as well. But I can tell you that my enlisted experience built the foundation to be a better leader as an officer.

Like I said when I first joined, the reason I joined initially was because of the education benefits. I've since received my undergrad and I’ve recently finished my MBA with the Army, especially the reserve incentives program help me achieve that goal.

The one thing that I love about the Black Hawk UH-60 is it is a versatile aircraft. We are able to work in mountainous area, desert. We get to transport troops, which is a great mission, being able to interact, the morale flight.

We were able to do a humanitarian mission in the Dominican Republic in 2006. That is where I was born, and being able to serve as a U.S. Army Soldier in the country where I was born, helping that country, was an unbelievable experience.