Fort Rucker Student Pilots

One of Fort Rucker's biggest missions is training pilots in real world battlefield scenarios, including firing missiles and guns.  On Friday, students flew to Florida's Eglin Air Force Base and took WSFA 12 News reporter Daniel Curtis with them.

Becoming a pilot was a childhood dream that came true for Lieutenant Matt Hill.  He's now an army aviator in training at Ft. Rucker.  "I really like the challenge, I enjoy being up in the air, and doing things that I dreamed of as a little kid," says 1st Lt. Matt Hill.

In fact, Hill and other student pilots are doing much more.  They participated in a sophisticated hellfire training mission at Eglin Air Force Base.  Students learning to fly the OH-58 Kiowa and the AH-64 Apache will pull the trigger for the first time.  "Doing all the procedures for the hellfire getting to see what they really look like has been beneficial, "says Hill.

All this training is under the watchful eye of Battalion Commander Lt. Col. John Lindsay.  Colonel Lindsay says a day like this provides these student pilots with the most realistic training they can get outside of being on the battlefield.  "This has the greatest bearing on what we're doing in Iraq and Afghanistan right now," says LTC John Lindsay.

Firing the missiles is the culmination of a steep learning curve for the student aviators.  But for the 1st Lt. Chefren Canady this day is part of an unforgettable process.  "I've made friends that I'll carry through till the day I die, people that'll be able to look after me and I'll be able to look after them," says 1st Lt. Canady.

Cheffren, Hill and all the other students are just months form receiving their orders from the Army, where this training will pay big dividends.