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Newly commissioned 2LT to train as Black Hawk pilot

By Lee Elder Nashville Recruiting Battalion

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A newly commissioned Army officer credits a lifelong love of all things science, technology, engineering and math and the help of her husband and an Army recruiter with helping her reach her goal to fly Black Hawks.

Second Lt. Chrystal Camacho graduated from Army Officer Candidate School at Fort Benning, Ga., April 16. She is back in the middle Tennessee working with Army recruiters before heading to Fort Rucker, Ala., where she will train to be an Army helicopter pilot.

“I hope to fly Black Hawks,” Camacho said. “I’m excited to get this opportunity.”

The Black Hawk helicopter, also known as the UH-60, is the U.S. Army’s primary medium lift utility transport and air assault aircraft. It is known as the workhorse of Army helicopters.

A Seattle native, Camacho graduated from Gonzaga University in 2015 with a degree in mechanical engineering. She worked several jobs after college, but it was while working for Hamilton-Ryker IT Solutions that she worked with members of the U.S. military.  

“I was inspired by their dedication to the mission and work ethic,” Camacho said. “I had been looking for a way to fuse my technical background with leadership, and the Army seemed to be the best choice for me.”

Camacho married her husband, Staff Sgt. Anthony Lane, and the couple moved from Fort Lewis, Wash., to Fort Campbell, Ky. While there, she worked at Hamilton-Ryker IT Solutions, but still longed to see what options the Army had for her.

After making online inquiries, she was contacted by Army recruiter Staff Sgt. Ashley Shannon. They connected immediately.

“She carefully guided me through the whole process,” Camacho said. “She showed me every option under the sun.  Her help and guidance were monumental.”

For her part, Shannon believed right away Camacho would make a top-flight Army officer. She became more convinced after learning about Camacho’s successful civilian job history.

“I thought she would be a good officer the first time I met her,” Shannon said. “She was extremely dedicated from Day One; her dedication was unmatched.”

Shannon said Camacho was not intimidated by the battery of tests and forms needed to apply for OCS. She pressed on to reach her goal.

“Her willingness only showed me that she embodied what the Army officer corps is looking for,” Shannon said.

Now Camacho sports the gold bar of an Army second lieutenant. She’s spending her time accompanying her former recruiter as she visits high schools and colleges throughout the middle Tennessee area.

“It gives her a good chance to see what I do,” Shannon said. “It’s also an opportunity for her to share her experiences in basic training and OCS.”

Camacho said she applied for Army Aviation training while she was in OCS. However, her love of all things mechanical began many years before.

“My Dad (George) works in the aerospace industry,” Camacho said. “He’s really been my biggest influence to help me become so STEM oriented.”

For more information, contact Staff Sgt. Shannon at the Madison U.S. Army Recruiting Station at 1722 Gallatin Pike North in the McHenry Shopping Center. You can also call 615 865-0456.

Army opportunities are available any time at www.GoArmy.com. The Army also has a presence on most social media sites like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and many others.