MINOT AIR FORCE BASE, N.D. —
The 54th Helicopter Squadron landed a UH-1N “Huey” at Glenburn Public School in Glenburn, North Dakota to allow students to tour the aircraft Sept. 27, 2022.
The community event was brought to fruition from a simple conversation involving 1st Lt. Sarah Melton, a 54th HS pilot and a local girl in a café.
“One of the little girls I met in the café asked me ‘Who are you, what do you do?’ and I said, ‘Well I fly helicopters up on base’,” said Melton. “And she said, ‘You fly helicopters!’ and I said, ‘Yeah do you want to see a picture?’ and her eyes just lit up.”
Melton took the conversation to heart and decided she wanted to give the opportunity to all the kids in the Glenburn community a chance to see the helicopter up close and meet with the air crew.
After months of coordinating with her squadron and the school, Melton was able to get all the required permissions to land a helicopter at the school’s softball field.
Upon arriving at the school, the air crew was greeted by students ranging from kindergarten to seniors in high school.
“It was cool to see them make the connection, to get to see them climb in and look at all the buttons and move the control sticks,” said Melton.
Being able to contribute to the community youth was important to Melton, as she felt she could provide some inspiration for the kids who may one day want to join the armed forces.
“If they don’t have any family members who work on base, they don’t really have a connection to it,” said Melton. “Especially, to see a lot of the little girls who had never thought about becoming pilots or military at all. It was cool to give them the option and opportunity to see they can do whatever they want.”