Editor’s Note: 30 year old Trevor Baucom of Clarksville, Tennessee was piloting his Black Hawk helicopter into combat in Afghanistan at 3:00 one morning. His helicopter was the leader of a group made up of an Australian team of Special Forces. This was the last of more than 50 combat missions that Baucom flew for the U.S. Army. Little did he know that his whole world was about to change. Part 1 of a 5 part series.
Trevor Baucom explains, “When I finished high school, I joined the U.S. Army and was an infantry soldier. While serving as an infantryman, crawling on the ground getting, wet, cold and nasty, I’d look to the sky and see the helicopters flying, taking men and ammunition to their destinations. I said to myself, ‘Those helicopter pilots and airplane pilots aren’t on the ground getting cold and nasty like I am. They’ve got comfortable beds at night. So, if I’m going to stay in the army, I want a job like they’ve got.” Both Baucom’s parents had served in the army. His dad had spent time in the infantry and finished his service working in a JAG office. His mom had worked in communications. According to Baucom, “I felt like and still feel that everyone should spend time in the military to give back to this country that gives us so much. To fly for the army, you have to submit a request to go to flight school and be recommended by some officers. Next you have to pass a physical test and an aptitude test. A certain number of candidates are then selected. When you’re chosen, you’re sent to Fort Rucker in south Alabama and go through Warrant Officer School. Once you finish that course, then you can apply for Flight School.”
Baucom was physically and mentally prepared for Warrant Officer School and Flight School. He’d played baseball in high school until his senior year, and then he worked 60 hours a week, while finishing his high school degree. He didn’t really know what he wanted to do for the rest of his life. But, he knew that if he served in the military and saved his money, he’d gain a lot of experience. Then when he completed his service, he’d have the money and the GI bill to go to college. By then, he’d know what he wanted to be in the future. Baucom explains, “Following in my parents, my grandparents and all the other members of my family’s footsteps of serving in the military was very important to me.” When Baucom was in Flight School, he started off flying a Bell Jet Ranger helicopter. All of his basic training was completed in this helicopter. Next he went to combat training, where he flew an LH 58 Bell helicopter, the military version of the Bell Jet Ranger. Then, Baucom moved on to advanced air training.
“By then, I knew what I wanted to fly and had decided to be a Black Hawk pilot,” Baucom reports. “I wanted to be the helicopter pilot who took the infantry in to do the fighting and picked up the wounded and took them to a hospital. The Black Hawk is a very versatile helicopter and is the one that most often carries the special ops teams into combat and into missions behind the lines.” Baucom really enjoyed being a Black Hawk pilot, and he planned to stay in the military and fly Black Hawks until he retired. After retiring from the army, Baucom wanted to fly medevac helicopters for private companies. “I found out that flying, regardless of where you’re flying to or from, is just a whole lot of fun,” Baucom says. “I can’t think of too many times that I didn’t have a good time flying.” Baucom pretty well had the rest of his life mapped out, and flying was his passion. He never expected to see the day that he wouldn’t be flying helicopters.
Next: Trevor Baucom’s Tragic Helicopter Crash In Afghanistan
About the Author: For the last 12 years, John E. Phillips of Vestavia, Alabama, has been a professional blogger for major companies, corporations and tourism associations throughout the nation. During his 24 years as Outdoor Editor for “The Birmingham Post-Herald” newspaper, he published more than 7,000 newspaper columns and sold more than 100,000 of his photos to newspapers, magazines and internet sites. He also hosted a radio show that was syndicated at 27 radio stations; created, wrote and sold a syndicated newspaper column that ran in 38 newspapers for more than a decade; and wrote and sold more than 30 books. Learn more at http://www.nighthawkpublications.com