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Twin pilots get Apache flight together in Afghanistan

by Gabriele Barison
Twin pilots get Apache flight together in Afghanistan

Stewart Smith had the opportunity to fly his brother Isaac Smith in the Apache, a two seater aircraft.

Chief Warrant Officer 4 Isaac Smith and Chief Warrant Officer 4 Stewart Smith are two identical twins and both are flying helicopters for the US Army.

Originally raised on a dairy farm in southeastern Idaho, at 17 years old Isaac and Stewart joined the Army National Guard and they served together in the Utah National Guard for four years before attending warrant officer candidate school and flight school at Fort Rucker, Alabama.

Isaac chose to go into active duty service while Stewart remained with the Utah National Guard.

However, as told by Sgt. David Dickson, 4th Combat Aviation Brigade, 4th Infantry Division Public Affairs, in the article Birds of a Feather: Twin pilots get Apache flight together, the brothers still ended up serving together.

Isaac, HH-60M Blackhawk helicopter pilot and currently attached to 2nd General Support Aviation Battalion, 4th Aviation Regiment (TF Mustang), 4th Combat Aviation Brigade, 4th Infantry Division, was deployed with Task Force Mustang in support of Operation Resolute Support, Afghanistan, this summer. Stewart, a AH-64D Apache helicopter pilot assigned to the 1st Attack Reconnaissance Battalion, 211th Aviation Regiment, Utah National Guard, also deployed along with 4th CAB, 4th Inf. Div. While this is not the first time either has deployed, this is the first time the twins have deployed together.

Twin pilots get Apache flight together in Afghanistan
Chief Warrant Officer 4 Isaac Smith (front) and Chief Warrant Officer 4 Stewart Smith (rear) in an APH-64D Apache helicopter, Aug. 31, 2020, Mazar-i-Sharif, Afghanistan.

What makes this deployment even more special is that Stewart had the opportunity to fly his brother in the Apache, a two seater aircraft. The chance for most people to fly in an Apache other than Apache pilots is a very rare thing.

Both twins are standardization pilots for their aircraft, which means they mentor and coach other instructor pilots on how to train new pilots, manage flight records, and set and enforce the standards for their units.

“It was one of the few times an Apache pilot has hoped nothing exciting would happen because it was Isaac’s first time in this particular airframe,” said Stewart about the flight. “It was an awesome flight.”

Isaac said he was left with a greater appreciation of the Apache and the pilots who fly them.

“I got to cross off two major bucket list items,” Isaac said of the Aug. 31st flight. “One: I got to fly in an Apache. Two: I got to fly with my brother as the pilot for the first time.”

After this deployment, Isaac said he plans retire from the military and return home to his wife and six children. He would like to pursue another career as an EMS pilot. Stewart will return to Utah to his wife and four kids, resuming his job with the Federal Aviation Administration and continue his service within the Utah Army National Guard.

AH-64 Print
This print is available in multiple sizes from AircraftProfilePrints.com – CLICK HERE TO GET YOURS. AH-64D “Longbow Apache” Serial No.99-5135, Charlie Company, 1st Battalion, 227th Aviation Regiment, 1st Cavalry Division, Iraq, March 2003.

Photo credit: courtesy CW4 Isaac and Stewart Smith / U.S. Army

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