US Army, April 03, 2015 - CAMP BUEHRING, Kuwait by Spc Jessica Nemec, 34th Combat Aviation Brigade – The path to becoming a U.S. Army pilot is extensive. Soldiers can enlist and serve first, or they can jump into training to become a commissioned or warrant officer before heading to flight school. The process can take 18 months or more.
Chief Warrant Officer 2 Rebekah M. Wottge went to training right away to become a pilot. She first completed basic combat training, then warrant officer candidate school. After those, she completed training many pilots need, such as survival, evasion, resistance, and escape (SERE) training and dunker training where soldiers learn how to escape from an aircraft submerged in water, and she how to fly the apache.
Wottge is an AH-64 Apache helicopter pilot with B Company, 4-501st Attack Reconnaissance Battalion. She has been in the U.S. Army for three years and with B Co. since September 2013. Prior to serving in the Army, she served six years in the British Army with explosive ordnance disposal.
“I’ve always had an interest since I was a kid in flying,” Wottge said.
She grew up all over the world, she said. She lived in South America, the Middle East, and England. Her family has a background in working with oil, which is the reason for moving around so much.
“A military lifestyle is definitely for me,” Wottge said. “I love the Army, I love flying apaches.” Her deployment with the 34th Combat Aviation Brigade to Kuwait is her first as a pilot.
“I’ve learned a lot out here,” Wottge said about her current deployment. “I learn something every day, every time [I] fly.”
Wottge currently has over 100 flight hours in Kuwait.
“She was the only female attack helicopter pilot to fly during the Qatar National Day,” Chief Warrant Officer 2 Christopher Langston, B Co., 4-501st instructor pilot.
Wottge’s next goal is to become a pilot in command, she said. As a pilot in command she will have the opportunity to fly almost every day and be in charge of the aircraft.
“It’s exhilarating, challenging,” she said about flying. There is a lot of multi-tasking involved.
When she returns to the states she’d like to get her fixed-wing aircraft license outside of the Army, she said.
The process from enlisting to becoming a warrant officer pilot took Wottge approximately 18 months to complete, she said. Her advice to anyone wanting to take the same path is, “If you put your mind and your heart to it you can achieve what you really want to. It takes a lot of work, a lot of commitment, but if you put the effort in and really want it you can get it.”