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I’m the type of person that when I’m curious about something, I have to know everything about it immediately. I was on a family road trip during college and we passed an Army convoy on the highway, and for some reason it grabbed my attention. For the rest of the trip, I was reading up on ROTC. I got back to school and joined the Army ROTC and the National Guard my junior year of college. It was the best decision I ever made.
When you get close to commissioning in the National Guard, you have to pick a branch. I looked at Guard branches in Massachusetts and Aviation seemed like the most badass thing I could think of. So, I went to flight school and learned how to fly Black Hawks. Out of my class of 30, there were maybe three women. I’d never flown a helicopter before. Most of my family thought it was cool. My mom was nervous.
I love flying because it challenges me on a bunch of different fronts. You have to be able to understand and synthesize technical information. You have to be able to make quick but prudent decisions. You have to mitigate risk and think about things in split seconds. And then you have to be mature about the outcome. We put ourselves in dangerous situations every time we get into a helicopter. As a Pilot in Command, I’m responsible for the entire flight — I'm responsible for myself, for the junior pilot next to me, and anybody in the back. That's on me.
We put ourselves in dangerous situations every time we get into a helicopter.
I want more women to fly helicopters. I want more women to join the military and to be in positions of authority, to be in command. Showing women that those opportunities exist is really important to me. It's also important to me, obviously, to do a good job at it. I want to be considered a good commander rather than just a good female commander.
Emily Wren is an assistant project manager at Suffolk, which she discovered thanks to another female National Guard veteran who works here. Emily serves as a Headquarters Company commander for the 3-126th General Support Aviation Battalion for the Massachusetts Army National Guard. She will deploy overseas with her unit in 2023.
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