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Taking to the skies

May 14, 2010 Taking to the skies GMC cadets see city from different view Vaishali Patel The Union-Recorder MILLEDGEVILLE — More than 65 selected Georgia Military College Prep students were eager for their firsthand look of Milledgeville and Baldwin County from a different viewpoint — 500 feet above the ground. Two UH-60 Blackhawk helicopters landed in the lower drill field of GMC Tuesday afternoon after taking a 45-minute ride from Dobbins Air Force Base in Atlanta. Sgt. Van Dexter Rutledge with the GMC JROTC Department said the UH helicopters provide a great opportunity for students to be introduced to aviation. “This is a reward for students’ leadership at the end of the year and for familiarization and orientation with the Black Hawk itself,” the drill team coach said. “They get to tour the community and see GMC from an aerial view.” After earplugs were provided to all passengers and a safety briefing was given, the UH helicopters took groups of 11 for a 10-minute adventure ride through the skies of Baldwin County. The Union-Recorder was on the seventh flight out as it ascended, dipped and turned while passing above the city’s downtown district, Lake Sinclair and endless green pastures. Senior Zach Guyton said the quick ride gave him a taste of what’s in store for him this summer. “I’m excited about going to LTC (Leadership Training Camp) this summer, and this is just a watered down version of that,” Guyton said. “This helps build leadership and motivates others.” According to the Federation of American Scientists website, the Black Hawk is the Army’s frontline utility helicopter used for air assault, air cavalry and aeromedical evacuation units and is designed to carry 11 combat-loaded, air assault troops. Along with two crew chiefs on one UH helicopter, one of two pilots, Patrick Cavanagh, said he hopes to provide the students more than just a few minutes of enjoyment. “[We hope to be] just an inspiration to see and [encourage students to] shoot for high standards,” Cavanagh said. “It just brings home everything they’ve been learning.” Prep School Senior Army Officer Lt. Col. David Lewis said select cadets are chosen every year for the ride. “This helps the students get introduced to aviation and to gain an appreciation for our soldiers and what they do every day,” Lewis said. “We plan on continuing doing this as long as we can get aviation support.”