AUGUSTA, Maine – “I think it is awesome,” Army Chief Warrant Officer 2 Joseph Emery said. “I can’t wait until I get pilot in command so I can fly with him. It is pretty cool. Not many people have the opportunity to fly side by side with their brother, so I consider myself pretty blessed for this.”
Emery is a pilot with Company C, 1/126 Aviation Regiment. His younger brother, Army Warrant Officer Candidate Nick Emery, left for Fort Rucker in Alabama in early November so that he could take the first step in becoming a pilot like his brother.
Nick, who said he had always looked up to his big brother, first joined the Maine National Guard six years ago. At that time, he needed something more fulfilling in his life than college.
Nick has been working on the electronic systems on the UH-60 Black Hawk helicopters for Company C. When he returns from flight school, he will be able to fly. Joseph said he’s more than happy to share his experiences with Nick, but he retains a brotherly competitive instinct.
“I am sure that whatever I did in warrant officer candidate school, he will try to one-up me, Joseph said. “It’s good for him -- a challenge. But I am going to have to dig up all my old grades, just to make sure. It’s just part of who we are.”
Joseph didn’t start out wanting to fly. He enlisted 11 years ago as a cook. Then after his first deployment, he requested a transfer to an infantry unit. After his second deployment, he decided he might want to be a pilot.
“The decision to go from infantry to pilot, was based on my experience with the last deployment and working with the helicopters,” Joseph said. “Not working on them but having them bring us places, drop things off for us and provide cover for us, I really got to see their role in the mission. It has definitely been an evolution for me, deploying as a cook and seeing the infantrymen and saying, ‘Wow that’s awesome, I want to do that!’ Then I went as infantry and I saw what the pilots did and said, ‘Wow that’s cool, I want to do that!’ I think that’s it for me though, I don’t want to do anything else except fly helicopters.”
Joseph’s passion for flying seems to have influenced his brother who enlisted as a heavy construction equipment operator, joining the 262nd Engineer Company in Belfast, Maine. When the 126th was preparing to deploy, he made the transfer in order to go with them.
“I really love being in this unit. The people are awesome, we all get along,” Nick said about his first experiences with Company C. “I love working on helicopters.”
Being deployed with the 126th meant Nick had a lot of time to spend with current warrant officers and pilots.
“I realized, I really wanted to fly,” Nick said. “I have always had a passion for flight. Just seeing them take off is a really cool thing but I want to do it. I never thought I could actually be a pilot but then I checked the standards, I got all of the information and realized, ‘Hey I can really do this.’”
Both brothers, who grew up in Whitefield, chose to go into the warrant officer program because of their reputation as experts in their field. They both wanted to be experts at flying.
To obtain an aviation warrant, candidates must have proof of U.S. citizenship, a 110 score on the general technical testing exam, a high school diploma, a secret to top secret security clearance, pass the flight physical and be no older than 33. Technical warrants must be no older than 46. After retaking the test and completing the flight physical, Nick worked with Army Chief Warrant Officer 2 Carlo Paratore and Army Chief Warrant Officer 5 Darryl Stevens to complete the packet.
“Chief Paratore and Mr. Stevens are phenomenal at their jobs,” Nick said. “They did an outstanding job making sure we were well prepared and we had everything we needed.
Nick also sought out his older brother for some advice on how to tackle flight school.
“He told me to take charge when I got there,” Nick said of Joseph’s advice. “He said it’s not just a course you can slide though. You can’t keep your head down and go through the motions or you will get called on it. Be active and take on responsibility.”
Nick said he looks up to his older brother and is thankful to have him as a sounding board.
“He has been my role model for a long time,” Nick said of Joseph. “I have looked up to him in more ways than just the military. We have always been there for each other. He has always been there for me. We trust each other, kind of rare these days. But we can be completely honest with each other, and we have each other’s back. It is a pretty cool relationship we have because we are brothers, we are flight brothers, and soon, we will both be pilots and warrant officers. I think that’s pretty cool.”
While the two are looking forward to the opportunities ahead, Nick still has to complete warrant officer school. He carries around the Warrant Officer 1 patch in his wallet to remind him of what he’s working for, which is to not only complete the course, but graduate with a better overall ranking than his brother.
“I have to ‘destroy’ him in school,” Nick said. “I have to always one-up in everything. He set the standard pretty high in school, so it will make beating him that much sweeter.”