In honor of Veterans Day, I was lucky enough to interview a seriously bada$$ woman in a mans world, an Apache Helicopter Pilot for the United States Army! Get to know the basa$$ woman below!
Erin Hansen: Chief Warrant Officer 2, AH-64E Pilot Apache Helicopter, 217 Cavalry 101 Combat Aviation Brigade
Early Career: Prior to joining the military and becoming a pilot, Erin was an ex-ray tech, who assisted in helicopter med-evac procedures, and truly enjoyed it. Her love of helping others, and her love of helicopters led Erin to current her military career. She felt that she was destined to do attack missions, which is why she choose apache planes.
Current Career: Erin is a Chief Warrant Officer 2, AH-64E Pioliot Apache Helicopter in the 217 Cavalry 101, Combat Aviation Brigade. So basically, she is BADA$$! Erin’s main job is to be a subject matter expert who manages a small group of people. As a pilot, she flies apaches,and has to fly 140 hours per year. Not only is she the pilot of the apaches she flies, but also the gunner, as she does not have a crew.Talk about major responsibility! Erin says she is glad she doesn’t have additional space for people or cargo, because it already is a lot of responsibility flying and taking care of the weaponry. Let’s talk accountability, “ You’re accountable to hitting minimums, it’s on you!”, so basically she not only manages others, but is fully accountable for herself as well!
Working in a male dominated field: This was a huge transition from the medical profession as it is the closest to being equal men and women. Now she is the only female in her troop, and one of only 3 in her battalion. In general, there are not a lot of women in aviation. Also, everytime she starts with a new unit, she has to reestablish herself, not only as the “new kid” but also as a woman in a males world! Her advice to women in a male dominated fields: Always be yourself! You don’t have to pretend to be a man to get ahead in the boys club, but also don’t be the damsel in distress. Find your middle ground, where you are happy and always stand your ground! While the military is a boys club, especially in Erin’s area of expertise, amazingly, both men and women earn equal pay.
Family: Erin and her husband got married in May of 2017, are both active duty in the military, as such they can go lengths of time without seeing each other. Erin has 2 young stepchildren, whom she loves as her own, however does not have her own children just yet. Having children as a dual military family can be very difficult, with conflicting schedules and deployments.The maternity policies have changed recently for the better, from 6 weeks of maternity leave, to 3 months, and Paternity had gone from 10 days to 21 days. Go Military!! There is also a pregnancy chapter, allowing new moms a certain amount of time to decide if they wish to remain active, or leave the military. While the military does offer childcare services, most dual military families require nannies to help out with their day to day lives, and especially during times of deployment. Parenting in general is hard, I can only imagine how is it for military families!
Money Values: Watching her mom struggle with money and her sister struggling to support 3 kids, living paycheck to paycheck, has drastically shaped Erin’s Money Values. Since her own student loans are staggering, her main goal is to educate her step children so that they will know how to budget, save and spend, allowing them a better life. Her goals for herself are to make sure that her and her husband have enough in saving for the kids education, and to have a healthy retirement savings, so that she doesn’t have to work after the age of 50.Erin has been working since she was 15, and has had 2 careers, she doesn’t want to have to start another one after she retires from the military. With goal setting like this, and having wonderful accountability, I have no doubt that Erin will reach her goals!
We are so grateful for bada$$ women like Erin, who always put others first, who are always accountable to their goals, and who are always wanting more for not only their lives, but the lives of others as well! Thank you, Erin for taking the time out of your day to speak with me, and for all you do! God Bless.