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“Standard: maintain the assigned heading +- 10 degrees…”

I’ve decided to keep the Black Hawk.

As with most decisions, this was a matter of finding the appropriate context. I was having a hard time doing that earlier because the ideal context, in which I had the opportunity to try both aircraft and choose after, was impossible. It’s no good trying to predict how well one will like something before ever trying it.

I had to step back and look at things from a larger perspective before the choice started to become non-arbitrary. Why did I choose Kiowas in the first place? Because they led very naturally into a progression that could include joining the 160th, or otherwise flying the ARH. Both of those paths assume that I’d make a career out of the Army.

At this point, that isn’t seeming very likely. Of course, I’ll make the final decision much closer to the end of my mandatory service period, but I think I could make more money, and have more fun, outside of the military. If I don’t assume that I’m going to be doing this for my entire career, the Black Hawk starts making a lot more sense. The missions I’d fly in that transfer much more directly into the type of flight I’d expect as a civilian, and the better selection of bases and assignments grow in importance.

Am I doing the right thing, intentionally declining an opportunity which may never again be presented to me? I hope so. Perhaps it’s lucky that there is no way to prove whether or not this was the right decision. I’ll just have to be happy with the choice and assume that it was for the best. It shouldn’t be too hard; I’ll be flying the most versatile helicopter in the Army.

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