Thanks to the joint efforts from several organizations, students from the Northland Pines School District and Lakeland Union Schools had the opportunity to explore a Blackhawk military helicopter firsthand.

On May 15, the 1st Battalion, 147th Aviation Regiment from Madison landed at both schools to answer questions and allow student’s to board and experience what being on a real military aircraft is like.

The event was organized by Vilas County Sheriff’s Deputy Tyler Jakubowski and Lieutenant Greg Fulton, who also both serve in the United States Army National Guard.

While planning a task to test communications for the organization, the officers created a unique opportunity for youngsters to be involved in the process.

Fulton served as an active duty officer in the United States Army for over seven years before joining the National Guard, where he is now approaching 24 years of service. He currently serves the local communities as the Lieutenant of Telecommunications for the Vilas County Sheriff’s Department.

Before the helicopter could land at Northland Pines Schools, members of the Eagle River Fire Department and the Vilas County Sheriff’s office participated in the event by securing the landing area. After the copter touched down, military personnel disconnected batteries and eliminated power sources to the machine so that students could safely board the aircraft.

“This was a great opportunity for students to ask questions and learn more about the Army National Guard and what they have to offer,” said Fulton. “The experience was good for the youngsters in the community and thankfully we had good weather.”

Jakubowski was one of the pilots on board and operating the Blackhawk.

A member of the National Guard for 13 years, Jakubowski was serving in the 115th Fighter Wing when he realized he wanted to become a pilot.

“I was serving next to the 147th Aviation Regiment and got to watch the helicopters take off and touch down regularly at Truax Field, Dane County Regional Airport,” recalled Jakubowski. “I knew then that’s what I wanted to do.”

He has now been serving in the 147th as a pilot for approximately five years and was excited to participate in this event.

“It was an awesome experience to be able to represent both the National Guard and the sheriff’s office at once,” Jakubowski added. “There was really great involvement from the students; they were respectful and excited to be a part of this.”

Northland Pines Middle and High School Principal Dan Marien expressed his gratitude to the officers and military personnel who instigated the happenings.

“We greatly appreciate our military servicemen and women and it was great to see the excitement our students had checking out the Blackhawk helicopter and talking with our brave military members,” said Marien. “It’s not every day a Blackhawk helicopter lands behind our school.”

According to Marien, the experience also provided students an opportunity to explore the possibilities of a military career by speaking with members of the Guard.

Both Fulton and Jakubowski said that they couldn’t have been happier with the way the organizations and school systems came together to make the experience happen.