Videos: Today's Military
    Army Reserve

    From Dream to Reality(02:21)

    The Army Reserve gave 1st Lt. Heather Cupitt the opportunity to achieve her childhood dreams of becoming a pilot. Through the Reserve Officer Training Corps (ROTC), Cupitt earned money for college and received flight training. As an Army Reserve pilot, she flies a Chinook helicopter, and she also works as a civilian flight instructor.

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Lt. Heather Cupitt: I'm Lt. Heather Cupitt, and I'm in the Army Reserve. I wanted to be a pilot, I mean, ever since I can remember. Growing up through high school and college, the Army Reserve was the best way to go because they had helicopters, and I wanted to fly.

Well, the Army Reserve offered me a two-year scholarship. They gave me money to go to school for the last two years when I was a junior and senior. They paid for my tuition. They gave me book money. They also will give you a stipend. That helps pay for rent and food every month. So you don't have to necessarily worry about, well, I have to do ROTC and go to school, and learn how to fly and now I have to get a job. Well, they help you to take care of that.

I get excited every time I fly the Chinooks. We have so many capabilities that we can sling-load other aircraft. We can sling-load vehicles. We can carry troops. We have so many capabilities that I get excited that I get to do that. And in my civilian job, I am a certified flight instructor. I can fly a single engine or a multi-engine aircraft.

Employers on the civilian side, they absolutely love the fact that I'm in the Army Reserve. They know that I'm committed to my job. They know that I can be a leader, that I take my job seriously and I'm serious about accomplishing the mission. One thing great about the Reserve is that they're very flexible with me. I'm married to an active-duty Soldier. If we go to the next duty station, I can call up a commander at another unit nearby and say, "Hey, this is my situation, and can you work with me?" That's one great thing about the Reserve is that they'll be, they can be flexible with me.

My mom and dad are proud of my accomplishments and how far I've come. Growing up, I was not adventurous. I was in a small town. I went to the movies on the weekends and was part of a basketball team, you know, and now I am so much more adventurous. Just after four or five years coming out of high school, and I'm flying a multi-million dollar helicopter, and I can't say that about a lot of 23-year-olds.