AFGHANISTAN 09.23.2020 –
Birds of a Feather: Twin pilots get Apache flight together
By Sgt. David Dickson
2nd General Support Aviation Battalion, 4th Aviation Regiment, 4th Combat Aviation Brigade, 4th Infantry Division
Mazar-i-Sharif, AFGHANISTAN -- When the 11 year old, identical twin Smith brothers saw their first helicopter static display, the boys knew they both wanted to fly.
Now both chief warrant officer four, Isaac and Stewart Smith are both flying helicopters for the U.S. Army.
Originally raised on a dairy farm in southeastern Idaho, Isaac and Stewart are the oldest of six children with a family history of over 100 years of military service. At 17 years old the, twins joined the Army National Guard as cannon crew members and eventually changed jobs to ammunition specialists. They served together in the Utah National Guard for four years before attending warrant officer candidate school and flight school at Fort Rucker, Alabama.
Isaac chose to go into active duty service while Stewart remained with the Utah National Guard.
However, fate would intervene and the brothers still ended up serving together.
Isaac, HH-60M Blackhawk helicopter pilot an currently attached to 2nd General Support Aviation Battalion, 4th Aviation Regiment (TF Mustang), 4th Combat Aviation Brigade, 4th Infantry Division, was deployed with Task Force Mustang in support of Operation Resolute Support this summer. Stewart, a AH-64D Apache helicopter pilot assigned to the 1st Attack Reconnaissance Battalion, 211th Aviation Regiment, Utah National Guard, also deployed along with 4th CAB, 4th Inf. Div. While this is not the first time either has deployed, this is the first time the twins have deployed together.
What makes this deployment even more special is that Stewart had the opportunity to fly his brother in the Apache, a two seater air craft. The chance for most people to fly in an Apache other than Apache pilots is a very rare thing.
Both twins are standardization pilots for their aircraft, which means they mentor and coach other instructor pilots on how to train new pilots, manage flight records, and set and enforce the standards for their units.
“It was one of the few times an Apache pilot has hoped nothing exciting would happen because it was Isaac’s first time in this particular airframe,” said Stewart about the flight. “It was an awesome flight.”
Isaac said he was left with a greater appreciation of the Apache and the pilots who fly them.
“I got to cross off two major bucket list items,” Isaac said of the Aug. 31st flight. “One: I got to fly in an Apache. Two: I got to fly with my brother as the pilot for the first time.”
After this deployment, Isaac said he plans retire from the military and return home to his wife and six children. He would like to pursue another career as an EMS pilot. Stewart will return to Utah to his wife and four kids, resuming his job with the Federal Aviation Administration and continue his service within the Utah Army National Guard.