First Lt. Jacqueline Miller was one of the pilots of a pair of UH60 Black Hawk helicopters that landed on the Pittsburg State campus. The helicopters were there to help the ROTC cadets load and unload, as well as give the cadets a little real-world experience.

First Lt. Jacqueline Miller was one of the pilots of a pair of UH60 Black Hawk helicopters that landed on the Pittsburg State campus. The helicopters were there to help the ROTC cadets load and unload, as well as give the cadets a little real-world experience.
Miller knows exactly what the cadets went through. Miller, a PSU alumna, was a cadet just like them going through a Black Hawk training not long ago herself.
“We were out at a training exercise and we knew the aircraft were coming in,” she said. “Only a few of us got to ride in them. I was lucky to be able to partake in it. I wanted to get involved in aviation before that, but the experience just sort of topped it off and made me sure.”
Miller isn’t the only PSU graduate to be a part of the Black Hawk experience Thursday afternoon. Josh Urban, another pilot, also flew with the helicopters.
Major Don Stoner, Department of Military Science chairman, said that giving the cadets helicopter experience, as well as the PSU graduates, were a big reason for the Black Hawk’s trip. It also exposes the cadets to just one of the 16 branches of the U.S. military.
“I think the cadets gain a lot of value in seeing exactly what is available,” Stoner said. “The graduates are a little bit younger than myself, and can relate a little bit better.”
The Black Hawks were part of the 1/108th Aviation based out of Topeka’s Forces Field.
The helicopters landed and took off several times Thursday afternoon, causing the wind to whip around the cadets waiting for their turn.
This event takes place roughly once a semester. Last September, a Chinook helicopter landed as part of a veterans celebration.
However, Cadet Company Commander Kyle Kunkel said the two are nothing alike.
“A Black Hawk is a little more awe-inspiring. Up in the air, there is a lot of maneuverability,” Kunkel said. “It’s a better ride than the Chinook, which is like a big bus in the sky. It’s low and slow. The Black Hawk is more like a race car. You can pull Gs in a drop and it accelerates a little faster.”
Each Black Hawk can hold 13 passengers and four crew members.
Miller said the helicopter trip from Topeka is definitely worth it.
“I enjoy coming out to Pittsburg knowing that it inspired me. I went to school here,” Miller said. “If I knew that another PSU grad comes out to aviation because of a trip like this, that would make my day.”

Andrew Nash can be reached at andrew.nash@morningsun.net or by calling 231-2600 ext. 132.