JROTC cadets fly CH47 and Blackhawk simulators

Special to Leader-Press

Five Copperas Cove High School JROTC cadets took to the skies of Central Texas and learned what it is like to be at the helm of multi-million dollar aircraft thanks to a partnership between the local school district and Fort Hood.
Members of the CCHS JROTC Bulldog Battalion expressed an interest in a carrier in military aviation and were invited by the Chief of Flight Simulation Division at Hood Army Airfield Eric Csizmesia to experience first-hand the rigors of flight. Csizmesia and two of his instructors walked the cadets through takeoff, flight over Coppers Cove and Killeen and landing both at Hood Army Airfield and Gray Army Airfield in both the CH47 and UH60 simulators all while explaining the systems and instruments and flight fundamentals. 
For CCHS JROTC cadets Colonel Allan Whelchez-Colon, First Sgt. Joel Nace, Major Keven Fuentes, First Sgt. Levi Gamo and Second Lieutenant Austin Perry, it was an experience they would not soon forget.
“My flight simulator experience was one of the most unique and fun moments that I have ever participated in,” said Welchez-Colon who serves as the Bulldog Battalion Commander.  “As a student pilot, this was a beneficial addition to my views towards aviation.”  
CCHS has one of the largest JROTC battalions in the area and is a Top 10 percent battalion meaning more than 10 percent of the student body is participates in the JROTC program.  With more than 2,000 students at CCHS, the Bulldog Battallion comprises more than 200 members, many looking for active-duty military service. 
“My experience with the flight simulator was very educational. It taught me valuable life lessons like how to deal with pressure in a stressful situations, while also teaching me fundamentals of helicopter flight,” Nace said.
Chief Warrant Officer Three (retired) Enrique Herrera instructs the CCHS JROTC Bulldog Battalion.  
“The cadets also learned that in order to reach a goal, they must develop a vision for themselves and then to seek out path that will lead them to that end,” Herrera said. “We appreciate our partners at Fort Hood for providing these opportunities for our students to realize their dreams.”

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