base information

Understanding a dream

Pvt. Steven Lott joined the Army in 1989, and was an enlisted Aeroscout observer in OH-58 Scout helicopters in 1989 to 1991. After becoming a Sgt in the Army, Lott attended Warrant Officer Flight Training becoming a Chief Warrant Officer 1 in 1992. (Courtesy photo)

Pvt. Steven Lott joined the Army in 1989, and was an enlisted Aeroscout observer in OH-58 Scout helicopters in 1989 to 1991. After becoming a Sgt in the Army, Lott attended Warrant Officer Flight Training becoming a Chief Warrant Officer 1 in 1992. (Courtesy photo)

Chief Warrant Officer 1 Steven Lott stands by an OH-58 scout helicopter. Lott went to flight school from 1992 to 1993. In 1995, Lott transitioned to fixed wing aircraft. (Courtesy photo)

Chief Warrant Officer 1 Steven Lott stands by an OH-58 scout helicopter. Lott went to flight school from 1992 to 1993. In 1995, Lott transitioned to fixed wing aircraft. (Courtesy photo)

Chief Warrant Office 1 Steven Lott sits in an OH-58 scout helicopter before takeoff. Lott went to flight school from 1992 to 1993. In 1995, Lott transitioned to fixed wing aircraft. (Courtesy photo)

Chief Warrant Office 1 Steven Lott sits in an OH-58 scout helicopter before takeoff. Lott went to flight school from 1992 to 1993. In 1995, Lott transitioned to fixed wing aircraft. (Courtesy photo)

A U.S. Marine Corps UH-1Y Venom helicopter crew takes-off after picking up combat controllers at the Juniper Butte Bombing Range March 12, 2014, near Mountain Home Air Force Base, Idaho. Operations out of MHAFB will be increased throughout the week of March 10-14 due to the combat exercise Gunighter Flag. Gunfighter Flag is an excellent opportunity to prepare multiple joint and coalition terminal attack controller teams for upcoming deployments as well as provide proficiency training for air and ground crews. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Benjamin Sutton/Released)

A U.S. Marine Corps UH-1Y Venom helicopter crew takes-off after picking up combat controllers at the Juniper Butte Bombing Range March 12, 2014, near Mountain Home Air Force Base, Idaho. Operations out of MHAFB will be increased throughout the week of March 10-14 due to the combat exercise Gunighter Flag. Gunfighter Flag is an excellent opportunity to prepare multiple joint and coalition terminal attack controller teams for upcoming deployments as well as provide proficiency training for air and ground crews. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Benjamin Sutton/Released)

A UH-1Y Venom gunner scans for threats during Gunfighter Flag March 14, 2014, at the Saylor Creek  Bombing Range near Mountain Home Air Force Base, Idaho. The combat exercise is designed to prepare multiple joint and coalition terminal attack controller teams for upcoming deployments as well as provide proficiency training for aircrews. (U.S. Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. JT May III/Released)

A UH-1Y Venom gunner scans for threats during Gunfighter Flag March 14, 2014, at the Saylor Creek Bombing Range near Mountain Home Air Force Base, Idaho. The combat exercise is designed to prepare multiple joint and coalition terminal attack controller teams for upcoming deployments as well as provide proficiency training for aircrews. (U.S. Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. JT May III/Released)

MOUNTAIN HOME AIR FORCE BASE, Idaho -- The helicopter touched down, the blades sliced through the air and the wind raged all around me as I climbed on board. Rapidly buckling myself into the gunner's belt and I looked down from the opened door and watched in disbelief as we rose further away from the ground. With the violent wind still whipping against me, I sat forward to see the base slowly disappear on the horizon.

All I thought was: my dad did this plenty of times. After all the years of hearing fantastic stories growing up, I started to understand the thrill. Chief Warrant Officer 5 Steven Lott, my dad, has been a pilot for almost 20 years now.

Joining the Army in 1989, my dad was an enlisted aeroscout observer in OH-58 Scout helicopters and finally became the pilot of the same aircraft.

When I saw the Marine UH-1 Huey land at Mountain Home Air Force Base with such ease I wondered if the crew could sense my eagerness, I imagined a photo of my dad ready for takeoff wearing a very questionable mustache from the early '90's.

Ever since my dad was a child, he wanted to be a pilot and he wasn't going to step away from that path. He was a Sgt. in the Army before going to Warrant Officer Flight Training and becoming a Chief Warrant Officer. When I look at photos of my dad, I smile at his grin and goofy mustache standing in his flight suit.

Growing up in the Army, I moved around every three years. The only consistent fixture was the flightline. After flying helicopters, my dad transitioned to fixed wing flying RC - 12s. When I was little and would walk through the hangers, I felt the wideness and even with the aircraft resting inside, I felt as if the building would go on forever.

The slight burn in my nose from the jet fuel was always a welcoming aroma growing up. While everything changed around me, the metallic scents of tools and jet fuel always remained my constants in life.

Growing up, I had many opportunities to sit in the cockpit of my dad's planes, to look through the windshield and play with the throttle pretending I was a pilot like my dad. This time was different. This was the first time that I boarded a helicopter about to take off. The sounds of the engine filled my whole being, I buzzed with excitement.

Flying in the helicopter I never felt more at peace; I could have easily just closed my eyes and pretended that I was home. Instead, I looked forward at the pilots. For a moment that lasted for what felt like ever, I thought of my dad turning around with a goofy grin laughing, "Buckle up! We don't want you to fall out!"

Watching my dad's career as a third party, I have always been amazed. My dad always wanted to be pilot and he went out and did it. Now I am starting a career of my own, I had the opportunity to look at the Marine Corps pilots and think: they get to see what the world has to offer. They get paid to do a job they love, just like my dad and now - me.

Being young, I always knew my dad had the most fascinating job. He would come home from a temporary duty telling us where he had gone, and what he had seen. I would pretend I was walking with him seeing the same things he was seeing. Now, I feel as though I have at least partially walked in the footsteps he had left behind. Though we serve in two different branches, I am now one boot step away from understanding my dad's dream.