The quest for happiness is arguably a lifelong mission we all share. Happiness is an individual’s prerogative, and is often partially achieved through personal success, wealth, sports, or a number of many other avenues. Conversely, complete happiness is simply a byproduct of purpose, selfless service, and everything that goes with the idea of “being the best professional one can be” when doing remarkable things for others. National Guard Soldiers and Airmen do just that, in their own communities, serving their neighbors, their friends, and their families – that’s purpose.
Ultimately, purpose creates vision, and vision triggers action, then results arrive, and ultimately happiness becomes possible, sustainable, and, most importantly something to be shared with the rest of the world. This principle can be particularly true for Citizen-Soldiers and Airmen when juggling the challenges of military commitments and often complicated lives, civilian jobs, and families. One of these remarkable, yet humble heroes, is Chief Warrant Officer Natalie Miller, who has found both purpose and happiness.
February 24, 2017 - U.S. Army Chief Warrant Officer Natalie Miller, Detachment 1, Company B, 2-238th General Support Aviation Battalion, sits in the pilot seat of her CH-47F Chinook heavy-lift cargo helicopter in Greenville, SC before leaving with her crew for a week-long training mission focused on high-altitude flight operations. She and her crew will attend a power management-centered course at the High-Altitude ARNG Aviation Training Site (HAATS), Eagle County, CO. (U.S. Army National Guard photo by Staff Sgt. Roberto Di Giovine)
Miller’s life revolves around her passion of flying helicopters. What started in 1998 as a way to financially support her college education and “do something fun” brought Miller to become a KC-135 aircrew’s life-support equipment technician, in the Wisconsin Air National Guard. Later she joined the U.S. Army Aviation branch as a UH-60 Black Hawk pilot.
Miller’s passion for flying and caring for others finally merged when she became a medevac pilot flying combat missions in Iraq. Subsequently, purpose and happiness brought her to Georgia in pursuit of a degree in Physician Assistant.
“It was a natural step to make me a better medevac pilot, and give me a civilian career filled with purpose” said Miller.
This education helped shape her civilian profession in order to continue her passion. She has found a position that gives her enough flexibility to continue working as a physician assistant, while also allows her to fit in time for her military flight schedule.
“You can be an average pilot and get by with the minimal amount of flown hours required, or you can shape your civilian life in order to fly as much as possible, thus developing your skills as a pilot, and preparing yourself for real world missions—always around the corner for Army Aviation Citizen-Soldiers,” added Miller. “When we deploy, for example, we fly continuously, and flying becomes muscle memory. So, as a pilot, I feel at my professional top when I am deployed. Back home, I can achieve similar proficiency by sacrificing some of my civilian life in order to fly often, train hard, and continue learning and applying myself toward, what I consider, professional excellence.”
In 2011, Natalie said goodbye to her beloved Black Hawks and met the mighty CH-47 Chinook heavy-lift helicopter. She first flew the Chinooks with the Georgia National Guard and later, in 2013, Miller transferred to the 2-238th General Support Aviation Brigade, South Carolina National Guard, also a CH-47 unit where she continues flying the heavy-lift helicopter.
February 24, 2017 - U.S. Army Chief Warrant Officer Natalie Miller, Detachment 1, Company B, 2-238th General Support Aviation Battalion, stands with her back to a CH-47F Chinook heavy-lift cargo helicopter that she pilots ... as she meets with fellow South Carolina National Guard members in Greenville, SC ... before leaving with her crew for a week-long training mission focused on high-altitude flight operations. She and her crew will attend a power management-centered course at the High-Altitude ARNG Aviation Training Site (HAATS), Eagle County, CO. (U.S. Army National Guard photo by Staff Sgt. Roberto Di Giovine)
Throughout her career, she has flown different type of airframes, she has been introduced to new units and fellow Soldiers, and she has been challenged by new missions, but she has continued to keep the same drive, same passion, and same quest for excellence, because of her purpose to serve her community and to protect her crew.
“That is ultimately happiness, and it is absolutely driven by purpose, because as a pilot, and as a leader, I have no option but strive for perfection, and fly with confidence, proficiency, and dedication to my crew and our mission, whether combat or emergency response,” said Miller.
By U.S. Army National Guard Staff Sgt. Roberto Di Giovine
Provided through DVIDS
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