Warrant Officer 2 Dylan Ferguson, Bravo Co 1-82nd Attack Reconnaissance Battalion, 82nd Combat Aviation Brigade, Southern Afghanistan

by Daniel Russ on December 21, 2009

I was put in touch with this young Apache pilot and asked him for his permission to write an article about him. He had to apply for permission and received it. In case you’ve had a buttload of Tiger Woods news and want to see what life is like for the men and women who go in harms way, I am featuring his entire letter to me unedited, including photos. It’s a fascinating window on a high achiever in the US Army and his path from Army Reserves to one of the youngest pilots trained in both the Chinook and the Apache. I thought it was telling that he decribed his cushy life as having internet access and bag of jelly beans. Jesus Christ we all have to be thankful for what we have. I mean you might be struggling in this economy but no one is trying to shoot your ass down.

I will pass on any questions you might have for Dylan or well wishes.

That all said, God Bless you Dylan, and Merry Christmas and we cannot wait for you and your wife and two kids to be reunited in peacetime. And please anyone who reads this please send it on to your friends.

Hey man, I went by my Brigade Public Affairs Officer and got the green-light for this. Funny enough they got me thinking by jokingly asking me “Are you interesting enough for someone to blog about you?” I retorted with “It’s all relative, we do this stuff every day. How many Apache pilots does the average person know?” But it did at any rate get me thinking about what makes me special, which quite honestly I think is my age, (however pretty soon even that will be played out). I enlisted into the Army Reserve between my Junior and Senior year of high school as a Combat Medic at the age of 17. I was attached to a Military Police company, and shipped off to Basic Training 7 days after graduation. At the age of 19 while I was attending UNC-Charlotte, I was accepted into Warrant Officer Candidate School for flight training. I celebrated my 20th birthday while I was there. I trained in flying CH-47D Chinooks, submitted my active duty packet, and at the needs of the Army, was sent back to quality in AH-64D Apaches. So by the age of 22 I was a rated pilot in 2 different advanced airframes and I got promoted to Chief Warrant Officer 2. At 23 (my current age, and the youngest pilot in my battalion) I was deployed to Afghanistan.

I also have a wonderful wife and two beautiful daughters. At this rate I think I will have my midlife crisis when I’m about 30! The unit I am in is Bravo Co 1-82nd Attack Reconnaissance Battalion, CAB is deployed to Southern Afghanistan where we perform a wide variety of missions, from security to reconnaissance, med-evac to air-assaults, we do it all. Being a pilot is a lot of hard work. I am getting ready for my annual flight evaluation tonight, a feeling that is reminiscent of cramming for my final exams when I was back in school. The sheer amount of bookwork, academics, and memorization that it takes to be a pilot is what washes out most people. They are extremely tough on us though because helicopters are dangerous enough by themselves, but then toss in some of the most unforgiving terrain and mountains in the world, then add people shooting at you, it can get pretty hairy out there.

To offset some of the stress and to help keep us at an optimum level of readiness we live a “cushy” life compared to many people in the Army, I am sitting with my laptop, with internet, in my climate controlled building, on my bunk-bed, with a bag of Jelly Belly beans I got for Christmas. It’s not a bad trade off. Well dude, that is something to get you started, polish what you want out of there, and I was told I can answer questions you might have, I just can’t violate OPSEC, so feel free to shoot me anything you are wondering, like I said earlier, I do this everyday, so I am often surprised by what people wonder and ask about me and my job.  Take it easy

Dylan

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{ 31 comments… read them below or add one }

Corsair8X December 22, 2009 at 7:57 am

Very interesting. Front seat of an Apache – possibly my dream job. The he’ll with flying I just want to operate the sensors. Pass on my best to him.

Jennifer Reed December 22, 2009 at 9:40 am

Only twenty-three and rated to fly two of the most awesome choppers in the world! Hooah!!

Me and so many others GREATLY appreciate the sacrifices you are making away from your wife and daughters, Dylan. I’ve seen quite a few videos from 3-82 and I can’t imagine how many lives have been saved giving air support to the troops and keeping those bad guys from planting IEDs. My son’s a Pathfinder with the 2-82 and I hope he able to give you all the support you need to exceed at your job! Before I die I hope to someday fly in a simulator just to have an idea of what you do in real life every day! Keep up the great work and I hope you are able to return safe and sound to your family soon.

Daniel Russ December 22, 2009 at 9:54 am

From my brother Barry on Facebook.

Barry Evan Russ
That is terrific!!! G-d bless these young men and women. My life is a breeze in comparison.

Daniel Russ December 22, 2009 at 9:55 am

Thank you for the visit Ms. Reed.

Barry Evan Russ December 22, 2009 at 10:18 am

Dear Chief Warrant officer Furgeson. What you have accomplished in your few years on earth is astounding, and uplifting. Please communicate to your peers just how much you are appreciated. It might not seem like it from there, but we DO CARE, we DO keep you in our thoughts and prayers, and mostly, we DO wish you a safe and permanent return to your family and friends. By the way, that is a baddass airborne doonbuggy you are riding!!!!

shari December 22, 2009 at 6:45 pm

What a wonderful story! Everyone stateside is so thankful and proud to have men like you serving our country!
Do you need more Jelly Belly beans?

susan December 22, 2009 at 6:48 pm

Let me just say that this is MY son! I’m so proud of him and his achievements….and all of the other brave military men and women. Thank you Daniel, for showcasing our heroes!

shari hindman December 22, 2009 at 6:52 pm

Thank you so much, Dylan. Everyone stateside is thankful that you and men like you are serving our country! Do you need more Jelly Belly beans??

Martt December 22, 2009 at 8:01 pm

Bravo Zulu to you CWO2 Furgeson.Thank You for being on the tip of the spear. I like most Americans are grateful for your and your fellow soldiers service. Hooha.

Daniel Russ December 22, 2009 at 9:54 pm

Mrs. Ferguson,

It is my honor to showcase this brave and talented man. At my first opportunity, I am going to ship jelly beans to Bravo Company.

Kathy Antley December 23, 2009 at 5:59 am

Thank you for sharing Dylan’s story, what an amazing young man. I am proud to say that I know him. Thank you Dylan for your service and to all the other men and women in the armed forces. My nephew Sean Fleming is in the Army also and currently serving in Afganistan. God Bless you all!

April December 23, 2009 at 8:16 am

You are an awesome example of American pride…..My family and I thank you and yours.

Leslie December 23, 2009 at 8:59 am

Thank You Dylan for your sacrifice. I pray for you and your family often as I get to hear all the “Dylan” news at school since I work with your wonderful mom!! God Bless and keep you!!

Dorothy Pensyl December 23, 2009 at 9:04 am

Dylan, you not only make your mother proud, but you make me proud to be an American!! I ask God to bless you as you lay down your life for me doing what God wants us to do. Loving your brothers enough to fight for the freedoms we often take for granted. God Speed my brother, hopefully one day I will get to see you in our halls. Your mom is a wonderful lady who did a fine job!! God watch over your family as they wait for your safe return.

JANE BELL December 23, 2009 at 11:16 am

Dylan,I am a virtual friend of your fathers on a garden club site! He is so proud of you and has every right to be so!! On site we feel as if we know you!! I to want to Thank You for a Thankless job!! GOD BLESS YOU and keep you from harm!!

‘Lord, hold our troops in your loving hands. Protect them as they protect us. Bless them and their families for the selfless acts they perform for us in our time of need. Amen.’

Jacob December 23, 2009 at 12:03 pm

Thanks Dylan for keeping all of us sitting at home safe. I plan on signing up for the Marines on my senior year of high school. I feel it’s somthing that I can be proud of. Thanks again and your a great inspriration to all of us!

David December 23, 2009 at 12:54 pm

Dylan, I’m an old friend of your mom and dad. Good people produce good people and I know they are very proud of you. Thank you so much for your sacrifice. Stay safe and enjoy your jelly beans.

Kaykay December 23, 2009 at 9:12 pm

We love you bubbies! You stay strong and you stay safe!

Edrie Bays December 23, 2009 at 9:30 pm

Dylan doesn’t know me, but I know his awesome parents. I send prayers and well wishes to him and to all those who serve. Thank you for highlighting this remarkable young man.

Daniel Russ December 23, 2009 at 11:05 pm

Thank you for the visit.

We will write features about anyone serving in uniform and anyone who ever has. Send this blog to your friends and as they say on the Beverly Hillbillies “Ya’ll come back, ya hear?”

Merry Christmas all.

Doug Lyon December 24, 2009 at 9:55 pm

Great look inside. Thanks for posting this. Just found the website. Nice job Daniel. My dad is retired Air Force.

Daniel Russ December 24, 2009 at 10:40 pm

Hey all,

The above comment was made by Doug Lyon. He has a great ad agency in Austin called Lyon Advertising. Google him and call him if you need some brand building, or great smart marketing ideas.

Joyce December 28, 2009 at 4:35 pm

I am Dylan’s aunt and I appreciated the article written about him. Dylan is a very talented young man and is doing a great job where he is. His parents are quite proud of him and you can see why. I look forward to the day he can come home. I also look forward to the day when all the soldiers can come home and STAY in the USA. This has been a hard war on many families.

Daniel Russ December 28, 2009 at 9:02 pm

Amen Joyce

Susan - Dylan's mom December 29, 2009 at 9:15 pm

Just checked back after a few days and am thrilled to see all the comments about our soldier. Thank you Daniel for showcasing all these brave military people….and God Bless you for the Jelly Beans!

Daniel Russ December 30, 2009 at 10:13 am

Pleasure’s all mine. Tell your friends about us. And happy new years.

Richard Hassell December 30, 2009 at 12:30 pm

I’m not the type of person who routinely makes comments on Blog posts, but in this case, I felt compelled to say a few things.
I have known Dylan since he was nine or ten years old. He and my son were friends in school here in Camden NC. And for the record, Dylan has always been a source of amazement. And he has always been an over achiever in the best sense of the term! I remember the Dylan who kept trying to hit that baseball, and catch the fly ball. The Dylan who worked for hours on the pinewood derby car when he was in Cub Scouts. The middle school Dylan who would help the teachers with their computer problems, because, it was suspected, that he was more qualified than the closest IT person.
But there’s one thing people should know… Dylan (and his sister) were encouraged to be all they could be long before the US Army got a shot at him. That is thanks to his parents, Susan and Ken. Those apples don’t fall far from the tree, you know.
I am proud to say I know Dylan, and the rest of his family. And thank you Ken and Susan, for doing one hell of a job as parents! Dylan’s friends here at home, (including his old friend Tyler) are very proud of him and we know the two of you had a lot to do with the man he has become. Keep up the good work Dylan, and come home safe…

…richard

Vicki Moehring December 30, 2009 at 7:08 pm

I’m so proud of our “young” men and women in the Armed Forces. My son, Spc.Joshua Moehring, is serving in the same unit as Dylan. Josh is an Apache crew chief, in charge of maintenance on the aircraft. His father flew the Apache in the Army, and it amazes us what these young people retain and accomplish in their jobs. It’s a huge responsibility, and they do their job willingly for the freedom we enjoy each and every day. Thank you for this blog, and I’ll be checking back often. Thank you Susan and Ken for raising a fine young man/soldier. God Bless our Soldiers and keep them safe. Another proud Momma in Texas.

Daniel Russ December 30, 2009 at 7:26 pm

Mrs. Moehring,

Thank you for the comment. We are so honored to have your visit. Please have Joshua write something about himself and send it to me at catfish.daniel@gmail.com, and send photos. Send photos of his father too. Let me write up an article about one of them or both of them.

Happy New Year and we all wait for that day when your son is back at home, in peacetime.

Susan O. January 6, 2010 at 7:07 am

I taught Dylan in the second grade. He taught me as much as I taught him! His mom, Susan, and I worked together for many years and she is a great friend. Thank you Dylan for serving our country and giving your best. I am not the least bit surprised at all your accomplishments! You are more than a great son, husband, dad, soldier, you are a great American! Stay safe and God bless you and all of our military men and women keeping us safe! Happy New Year! Mrs. Overman

black friday sales October 31, 2010 at 3:00 pm

Great look inside. Thanks for posting this. Just found the website. Nice job Daniel. My dad is retired Air Force.

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