Every so often when you’re sitting in the chow hall overseas, you’ll gaze up from your plate of Noodles Jefferson and take note of your surroundings. Depending on theater and tempo, the crowd ranges from monotone to “Star Wars” bar scene. Uniforms from different branches and different countries worn in different ways; government employees and contractors abound.

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U.S. Army National Guard photo by Sgt. Brian A. Barbour

When most people find out you’re a Black Hawk pilot, the first question you can anticipate is, “Have you seen Black Hawk Down?” Yep, read the books, too. I crack up when I see Jeremy Piven slamming levers around like he’s closing a truck trailer. It’s telling that the thing most people relate to this helicopter dates from the first half of the 90’s.

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