Army Aviation

Falcon Brigade Participates in Student Leadership Program

studentleadershipStory by Sgt. William Begley
3rd Combat Aviation Brigade

HUNTER ARMY AIRFIELD, Ga. – For the second year in a row the 3rd Combat Aviation Brigade participated in the Student Leadership Program event on Hunter Army Airfield January 19.
The SLP is an energy-filled experience for a select group of high school students who envision a bright future for themselves. The program provides students with the skills and tools necessary to build a successful future.
The 3rd CAB supplied an AH-64D Apache helicopter and UH-60M Black Hawk helicopter and their pilots and crew to show to the enthusiastic crowd of students. The guest speaker was Lt. Col. Jason West, commander, 2nd Battalion, 3rd Aviation Regiment, 3rd CAB.
“I tried to put myself in their shoes and remember what it was like for me when I was in a similar leadership program back in the day,” West said. “I shared with them what I would like to have heard and what I have experienced now that I am where I am at in my career.”
West said that his goal was to help unlock the student’s leadership potential. One of the ways he did so was by sharing an experience he had overcoming his weakness as a student. By sharing that a lieutenant colonel in the Army struggled with classes too he hoped to reach all of the students in the room, not just the gifted ones.
Chris Nowicki is a community investment specialist for Gulfstream Aerospace Corporation. He is also the director of the SLP.
“The program is all about exposing students to career opportunities and helping to develop leadership skills while they develop a plan for when they exit high school,” Nowicki said.
The program is a four year commitment that begins when the students enter high school and sign up.
“Working with teachers and mentors helps the students have a solid plan like going to college or joining the military. We give them exposure and help them so that they can be successful when they graduate,” Nowicki said.
After listening to West speak, the students got to get up close and view the AH-64D Apache helicopter and an UH-60M Black Hawk helicopter and listen to their pilots and crew talk about the daily life of an Army aviator.
Jamel Fogle-Washington is a junior at the Savannah Arts Academy and has been a part of the SLP for four years. The 18-year-old said he enjoys coming to the airfield and seeing the aircraft and meeting new people.
“I like coming here. Every year I come out here there is definitely something different that the program puts on for us. I like that each year is unique,” Fogle-Washington said.