MARINE CORPS AIR STATION MIRAMAR, Calif. (11/30/2012) – When an
economics major in her freshman year stepped into class and saw a
video of a plane hitting the World Trade Centers the feeling of
helplessness overwhelmed her. She knew then she had to do something
to make a difference.
Capt. Charlene Wyman, a pilot with Marine Heavy Helicopter
Squadron 462, 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing, and a Denver, Colo., native,
checks for discrepancies on a CH-53E Super Stallion aboard Marine
Corps Air Station Miramar, Calif., Nov. 29, 2012. Wyman, who has
been a pilot for her entire seven-year career, joined the Marine
Corps to make a difference to her country after Sept. 11, 2001.
Photo by USMC Lance Cpl. Melissa Eschenbrenner
She decided when hearing about the possibilities of being a pilot
in the Marine Corps, that she would use that to aid her country in a
time of need. This person, now a Marine pilot with Marine Heavy
Helicopter Squadron 462, 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing, is Capt. Charlene
After seven years in the Marine Corps, spending her
entire career as a CH-53E Super Stallion pilot, she doesn't look at
her job as work, she sees it as fun.
“As a woman, I wanted to
be in direct support of the troops on the ground,” said Wyman, a
Denver, Colo., native. “I wanted to be as close to the action as
On her first deployment where she spent three
months in Iraq and three months in Afghanistan, she was one of four
female pilots, which was an anomaly, she explained.
returning, there was only one other female pilot in her squadron.
“In older generations it may have been a bigger deal,”
said Wyman. “But, nowadays women are seen in many different
jobs that they wouldn't have been in before and it doesn't
The friendships made in the Marine
Corps are tighter than those possibly made in a civilian
job. As a pilot, the opportunities to work closely with
officers and enlisted closely help to pass knowledge and
make the team as a whole stronger, explained Wyman.
She is very personable and it is easy to ask her questions
because she is knowledgeable and can explain things in a
manner that is easy to understand, added Capt. John Dextor,
a pilot and operations officer with HMM-462, 3rd MAW and a
Norfolk, Va., native.
As a pilot with qualifications
to instruct others in training and weapons and tactics, she
thoroughly passes her knowledge to anyone who can benefit
from it, explained Dextor.
“She is very
attention-to-detail oriented,” said Dextor. “Working as
operations officers together, she coordinates about 40
pilots and matches what they need with classes, students and
instructors to get the schedule finished.”
proud to be in a squadron that grows and works as a team.
She benefits from others as well as passes her knowledge to
colleagues. Without them, she would not have gotten the
opportunity to fly with Headquarters Marine Corps Squadron 1
in the future.
“She is going to be a pilot with
HMX-1.” said Dextor. “That is a testament to her skill level
and potential for the future,” said Dextor. “It is very
competitive and a very selective process.”
As a pilot
with many opportunities, Wyman would not change it.
“I didn't plan on staying in for this long.” said Wyman.
“However, I didn't know it was going to be this much fun. I
know I'll be in HMX-1 for four years, so if I still love it,
I will keep doing this. I don't honestly know what I'd be
doing if I wasn't here.”
By USMC Lance Cpl. Melissa Eschenbrenner
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