BAGRAM AIRFIELD, Afghanistan (11/9/2012) – Things and people that
are constant fixtures in life often get taken for granted. In the
Army, everything changes eventually.
U.S. Army Chief Warrant Officer 2 Blaine Wyckoff, B Company, 3-238th, CH-47 Chinook helicopter pilot, a native of Akron, Ohio, who has worked in the aviation field as an enlistee 1972, rose to the rank of colonel and took an administrative reduction so that he could continue to fly, sits in the pilot's seat of a CH-47 Chinook helicopter at Forward Operating Base Salerno, Afghanistan, Oct. 20, 2012. U.S. Army photo by Sgt. Duncan
Brennan, 101st CAB PAO
In the aviation units of the Ohio National Guard, there
has been one person who has become all but permanent. Chief
Warrant Officer 2 Blaine Wykoff, B Company, 3rd Battalion,
238th Aviation Regiment pilot, a native of Akron, Ohio, has
made himself part of the Ohio Army National Guard for 38
Wyckoff started his military career when he
enlisted into the Ohio Air National Guard in 1972.
In those 40 years of service, Wyckoff commissioned in 1976
and rose to the rank of colonel in July 2002. In June 2006,
Wyckoff hit his mandatory removal date. Thirty years had
elapsed since his commission date. His options were to
retire, accept nomination to brigadier general, or take an
administrative reduction. Wyckoff's love of flying
helicopters made his decision for him.
enjoy being in the Guard and I still love to fly,” said
Wyckoff. “I have flown the UH-1H 'Huey,' the AH-1 Cobra, the
OH-58 Kiowa Warrior and the CH-47D Chinook. I can tell you
right now that if I wasn't flying, I wouldn't be in the
With Wyckoff being such a fixture
in the Ohio National Guard, especially after his time as
commander of the Army Aviation Support Facility in Columbus,
Ohio, from December 1997 to June 2002, many were surprised
when, then Col. Wyckoff, took an administrative reduction to
chief warrant officer. Those that had worked with him the
longest understood the decision.
“It was not a shock
to me when Mr. Wyckoff took the reduction,” said Sgt. 1st
Class Dale Benedetti, B, 3-238th maintenance platoon
sergeant, a native of Beloit, Ohio. “I have worked with Mr.
Wyckoff since he was a lieutenant, back in 1983. It was the
only way he could continue to fly.”
Flying may have
kept Wyckoff in the National Guard, but his presence and
leadership have rippled across four decades of service.
Today, his leadership and experience inspire respect, even
in those that do not work closely with him.
have casual contact with Mr. Wyckoff,” said Spc. Pam Howe, D
Company, 3-238th, CH-47 Chinook mechanic, a native of Akron,
Ohio. “Being around him, your integrity kicks in a little
more. Wyckoff is relaxed, but you want to be on your best
behavior around him.”
Even those who have worked with
him long term have come to appreciate Wyckoff's leadership
style. From the junior enlisted to senior non-commissioned
officers, there is a sense of deep respect for his expertise
“He's been a mentor to a lot of
people,” said Benedetti. “I've never questioned his morals,
integrity or his leadership once. The junior enlisted have
nothing but respect for Mr. Wyckoff because he walks the
Everywhere Wyckoff has influence - the
undercurrent of his career is felt. As a chief warrant
officer versus a colonel, the tone of that influence is
tempered by the relationships he cultivates.
worked with Mr. Wyckoff for about a year,” said Sgt. Brandon
Robb, B 3-238th Chinook flight engineer, a native of Akron,
Ohio. “He's looked at as a mentor. I've learned how to be a
better person and a better NCO working with him. It's been
an absolute pleasure to serve with Chief Warrant Officer
Wyckoff on his last big hurrah.”
As Wyckoff's career
comes to a close, his sense of leadership still permeates
everything he does. Despite the length and gravity of his
career, he connects to his crew on a more intimate manner.
This style is not lost on his current crew.
gotten to see more of the personal side to Mr. Wyckoff,”
said Sgt. 1st Class Mike Seruch, B 3-238th door gunner, a
native of Sebring, Ohio. “I've gotten to know 'Blaine'
versus 'Col. Wyckoff.' I've gotten to see the fun,
knowledgeable and mentoring side of Mr. Wyckoff. It's been a
pleasure working with him personally and professionally.”
With all the lives that Wyckoff has touched, personally
and professionally, there is a certain bitter sweetness to
this deployment. Wyckoff will retire in January 2013. His
awards include the Meritorious Service Medal, Air Medal,
Joint Service Commendation Medal, the Army Achievement
Medal. From the perspective of his fellow soldiers, it is
not the awards and decorations that they will remember; it
will be the mentor, leader and guidance that will stand out
above everything else.
“We're both retiring in
January,” said Benedetti. “A lot of people will miss his
leadership and mentorship. I'm going to miss working with
him, and I hope to continue our friendship.”
By Army Sgt. Duncan Brennan, 101st CAB PAO
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