Chicken Hawks To Blackhawks
Two years ago today, I took command of NC’s only MEDEVAC Detachment and today, with great pleasure, I am blessed to take on my second command as the S&S Detachment Commander. With me, I bring all of the command lessons, professional development and leadership teaching points to help further my foundation as a leader. It is an honor to return to the unit where I was once a specialist and lead it with a smile.
From the Blackhawk to the Lakota, I am confident that this transition will be seamless because I am falling in on some of the most professional, hardworking and dedicated, pilots, maintainers, fuelers, and flight operations personnel in the guard.
To my amazing MEDEVAC family, you have taught me well and grew me into the well-rounded leader and officer I am today! Thank you!! I appreciate all of the memorable moments we’ve shared as a unit and learning each of you and your families! I’ve served with the best National Guardsmen in NC and it has been a blessing to be your Commander.
Now, to those of you who know me personally and have been supporting me all these years, THANK YOU!! Y’all know I’m over here dancing for Jesus at the opportunity to fly 2 aircraft, lead awesome Soldiers, progress in my career in the National Guard and still enjoy all of my civilian joys of Couple’s Counseling and being a Fitness Inspiration! You matter and I appreciate you too.
Captain Jefferies, the first African-American female Blackhawk Helicopter Pilot in the N.C. National Guard. A native of Raleigh, N.C., enlisted in the North Carolina Army National Guard during her junior year of high school. She spent her monthly weekend training in the Recruit Sustainment Program (RSP), where newly enlisted Soldiers become better prepared for attending Basic Combat Training and Advanced Individual Training. Because of her exceptional professionalism, the RSP unit she attended created the Lindsey Jefferies Award, an award given to the RSP Soldier who most exemplifies leadership, selfless service and dedication to duty.
Upon acceptance to college, Jefferies joined the Army ROTC program at The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and commissioned as an Aviation second lieutenant upon graduation. Captain Jefferies currently resides in Greensboro, N.C., and will be attending the University of North Carolina at Greensboro this fall to pursue her Master's degree in Couples and Family Counseling. Hard work is paying off tremendously for Captain Jefferies now, but initially the road wasn't quite paved for her.
While in high school, her family moved from Smithfield to Raleigh where she attended Broughton High School and joined the Air Force JROTC. It was here that she got her first taste of flight, flying a small airplane. She described it as "an out of body experience". She was so moved that she enlisted in the Army National Guard in the 11th grade. It was then that she was able to have her first ride in a Black Hawk helicopter.
The UH-72 Lakota is a twin-engine helicopter with a single, four-bladed main rotor. The UH-72 is a militarized version of the Eurocopter EC145 and was built
by American Eurocopter (now Airbus Helicopters, Inc.), a division of Airbus Group, Inc. Initially marketed as the UH-145, the helicopter was selected as the winner of the United States Army's Light Utility Helicopter (LUH) program on 30 June 2006. In October 2006, American Eurocopter was awarded a production contract for 345 aircraft to replace aging Bell UH-1H/V Iroquois and Bell OH-58A/C Kiowa helicopters in the US Army and Army National Guard fleets. It performs logistics and support missions within the US for homeland security, disaster response missions, and medical evacuations. The UH-72 is designed to take on a range of missions, from general support and medical evacuation (MEDEVAC) to personnel recovery and counter-narcotics operations. They are planned to replace the UH-1 and OH-58A/C, which are older light utility helicopters, and supplant other types in domestic use, primarily those in Army National Guard service.
While attending UNC, her AIT dates ran perpendicular to her fall semester enrollment. Therefore she applied for and was awarded an academic deferment that would allow her to meet her academic goals. To support her academic quest, she supplemented herself by working at a local Zaxby's Chicken restaurant. Just as with Eugene Bullard, Bessie Coleman, The Tuskegee Airmen, Ensign Jesse Leroy Brown and hundreds more, she was told that the world of aviation was not on her horizon. She'd heard from a co-worker that the general manager expressed that Zaxby's would be the
only employment that she would ever have. Considering the fact that she was in her junior year and majoring in psychology and sociology, the statement from her general manager was an extreme insult.
Refusing to be marginalized and devalued by those who were not supportive of her goals, she tendered her two week resignation. She then applied for an active duty position. She was then advised by her mentor, Connie Jones to take her flight physical. Her initial flight packet was rejected due to a discrepancy. Her dream of becoming an Army Aviator was temporarily dashed. After making the necessary corrections she resubmitted her application for the next year's assessment board. It was on her last day as an undergraduate that she was informed that she would be receiving orders to attend flight school at Ft. Rucker in Dothan, Alabama. “Initially becoming a pilot was an idea that seemed so far out of reach and unattainable,” said Jefferies. “But, after praying, putting my faith in God and seeking guidance from mentors, I made the decision to go for it, a decision forever cherished.” she once stated.