Ten Wounded Warriors Get Co-Pilot Experience In The Sim
Wounded Warriors from Naval Medical Center San Diego (NMCSD), had the opportunity to experience a helicopter simulator at Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron (HSC) 3, May 10. The Wyakin Warrior Foundation (WYWF), a nonprofit organization which provides education and professional development to wounded veterans, in conjunction with the San Diego Leadership Forum (SDLF) and HSC-3, invited 10 Wounded Warriors to spend an evening at the HSC-3 helicopter simulation facility.
"It was a lot of fun and it was therapeutic. You are so focused on how you're flying and which direction you're going, that you aren't thinking about anything else. I have been at the hospital for over one year, and it can really wear you down, but getting out to events like this can really make a big difference," said Lance Cpl. Justine Carter, assigned to NMCSD's Marine Wounded Warrior West Battalion Balboa Detachment.
During the evening, the Wounded Warriors were treated to a pizza dinner, a flight brief, a tour of an MH-60S Knight Hawk helicopter, and the experience of being a co-pilot in the MH-60S Tactical Operational Flight Trainer.
"We put the Wounded Warriors in the simulator, and it seemed like they all had a pretty good time. They each had about 10 minutes in the simulator, in which they learned how to fly a helicopter, learned the capabilities of the simulator, and learned how difficult flying really is. So overall it was a good experience," said Lt. Tim Burfield, an instructor pilot assigned to HSC-3. "We also had some good food and I got a chance to talk to all of the Wounded Warriors and find out what their background is and how they got to where they are today."
Members of the WYWF hope to make this a quarterly event for the Wounded Warriors at NMCSD with the support of HSC-3 and the SDFL.
"This is a great opportunity for local community leaders to help support our local Wounded Warrior efforts. Our goal is to provide an opportunity for our Wounded Warriors who are currently going through treatment at NMCSD to do something that they normally would not have an opportunity to do, and also to tell them a little bit about the WYWF," said Mike Kuypers, development advisor of the WYWF.
The Wyakin Warrior Program is currently located in Southern Idaho, and because of its high success rate, they are working on developing the program in San Diego.
(Pictured: Cpl. Brock Andrew, assigned to Wounded Warrior West Battalion Balboa Detachment at Naval Medical Center San Diego, sits in the cockpit of an MH-60S Nighthawk during a tour of Helicopter Sea Combat Squardron (HSC) 3.)