GOING TO EMBRY-RIDDLE
In high school I was involved in a leadership program called Naval Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps (NJROTC) and one of our competitions was held at Embry-Riddle’s Daytona Beach campus.
I didn’t consider a career in the military until the end of my junior year when a Navy Recruiter told me I should apply for the NROTC scholarship. I expressed interest in aviation (because honestly if you’re going to be in the military you might as well have the coolest job there) and he told me to look into ERAU, “the Harvard of the skies,” he said.
Long story short, I was blessed to receive the NROTC scholarship to Embry-Riddle and was on my way to Daytona Beach. At that time I was only guaranteed a commission in the military upon graduation; midshipman do not know their service selection, aka their military job, until their junior year of college. Therefore, I decided I wouldn’t major in the Aeronautical Science just incase I didn’t service select pilot.
I majored in Aerospace Studies (now known as Interdisciplinary Studies) which allowed me the flexibility to explore my other interests such as Meteorology, Air Traffic Control, and International Relations. “A jack of all trades, but a master of none,” some would use to describe it. That seems to fit me best and I figured if I selected pilot from the military then they would teach me to fly; and they did!
Embry-Riddle also I also gave me the opportunity to study abroad in Italy through my International Relations minor, and complete an Internship in Building Community at Columbia University in NYC. NROTC had it’s own summer training opportunities including a program called Career Orientation and Training for Midshipmen (CORTRAMID) which involved seeing what life was like in each Navy community the summer after your freshman year, and shadowing a sponsor from the different navy communities (Surface, Submarine & Aviation) in the summers after your sophomore and junior year.
- Went straight to flight school in Pensacola, FL.
- At that time the Navy was doing a cross military training program with the Air Force so after completing the initial aviation preflight indoctrination (API) course in Pensacola, Danielle went to Enid, Oklahoma for 7 months to fly the T-6 (a high performance single engine turboprop) with the Air Force.
- From Primary, all student naval aviators move to ‘Intermediate’ or ‘Advanced’ flight training for the community they were given (Helicopters, Jets, Maritime, etc). After Primary, Danielle was sent back to Pensacola (Milton), FL for advanced rotary wing training. There, she learned the aerodynamic principles of how helicopters “beat the air into submission,” the fundamentals of rotary wing flying, low level navigation flying, helicopter formation and received her instrument rating.
- Recieved her wings as an Aviator in the United States Navy in January 2014.
- After recieving her wings, she was sent to Jacksonville, FL to fly the MH-60 Romeo Helicopter, which is a twin engine, multi-mission helicopter with a primary mission set of Anti-Submarine (ASW)/Surface Warfare(ASuW).
- Danielle joined the Fleet Replacement Squadron (FRS), as her first squadron in Jacksonville, FL. There, she learned how to tactically employ their new chosen aircraft for its specific mission set.
- Currently she is still at the FRS, but will join my operational fleet squadron come early 2015.
- Current ranking is Lieutenant Junior Grade (LTJG), MH-60 Romeo Helicopter Pilot .
- Danielle’s goal is to become a Helicopter Aircraft Commander (HAC) and serve her country the best way she can with the training she received.
IN HER OWN WORDS
- “Being a helicopter pilot is awesome! Landing on a moving runway, or flying during sunset while illuminating the night sky with night vision goggles is an unmatched euphoria only few get the privilege of experiencing. Definitely the best job in the world, but it certainly isn’t easy. I’ve only been in the Navy for two years and flying for about a year and a half of that time. I thought the hard part and intense studying would be over after I got my wings, but I’ve come to learn that isn’t the case.”
- ” I loved the personalized education I received at Embry-Riddle. I didn’t have a class larger than 25 students, which really allowed me to form personal relationships with my classmates and professors. The program that benefitted me the most was Embry-Riddle’s Naval Reserve Officer Training Corps (NROTC), which allowed me to receive a commission in the military.”
- “The T-6 was a blast to fly, and the type of training and flying you do in the military is incredible! Granted, I’m bias, but where else do you learn to fly barrel rolls, aileron rolls, and formation…all for tactical purposes of course! And all that was only Primary flight training.”
- “The extracurricular activities I was involved in at ERAU (I was a Resident Advisor and an Ambassador on the Orientation Team) allowed me to make connections outside the military community. I have many fond memories in those organizations during my time at ERAU and I would say the experiences I learned from my extracurriculars were equally as valuable to me as my education.”
- “Like most professions, Pilots (specifically military aviators), have to constantly stay current on aircraft systems, emergencies, limits and new weapons and tactics. It’s challenging but extremely rewarding. Once I get to my operational squadron my job will entail going on various deployments with a focus on surface search and classification (SSC) and Anti-Submarine/Surface Warfare (ASW/ASuW). The Romeo’s secondary mission set is Search and Rescue (SAR) and vertical replenishment (VERTREP).”
ADVICE FOR FUTURE STUDENTS
“Work hard, stay humble and have a positive attitude. Easier said than done, but everyone wants to be around that kind of person.” — Danielle Howard