March 19, 2013 at 8:23 PM CDT - Updated July 25 at 9:07 PM
The following is a news release from Camp Shelby:
Your life's journey can change in an instant. It only takes one spark of inspiration to invoke change and ambition on a person's journey. This spark of inspiration started for Warrant Officer 1 Daniel Boatman of Brandon, during his time as a cadet with the Mississippi National Guard's Youth Challenge Program, Class XIII 2000.
Boatman was searching for his niche as a student at Northwest Rankin High School in his 9th and 10th grade years. He found acceptance and motivation as a cadet of the Junior Reserve Officer Training Corp in his high school. Through his affiliation with the JROTC, he learned about the YCP, known today as the Youth Challenge Academy or YCA, program at Camp Shelby in Hattiesburg.
"When I heard about YCP, I knew it would be a good fit for me," said Boatman about his decision to join the Youth Challenge Academy.
Boatman explained that the opportunities that were given to him as a cadet at YCA showed him that it was possible to set goals and accomplish them. As a cadet he was a member of the Civil Air Patrol and had the chance to fly the Cessna 172 aircraft.
Boatman describes some of his fondest memories as a member of the Civil Air Patrol, "Running all over Camp Shelby with Maj. Basinger in Rangers. Participating in the Civil Air Patrol and getting to take the controls of a Cessna 172."
His early days participating in the Civil Air Patrol sparked a fire of motivation, interest and the will to succeed. "Being allowed to participate in the Civil Air Patrol was my first introduction to the possibility of going to flight school," said Boatman.
Boatman graduated from the Initial Entry Rotary Wing Flight School at Fort Rucker, Ala., on March 7. He has also earned an Associate's Degree in Applied Science Avionics Systems Technology from the Community College of the Air Force, February 2010; an Associate's Degree in Applied Science Human Resource Management from the Community College of the Air Force, March 2010; he received a Certificate of Flight Achievement - Completion of Aircraft Qualification Course in Sikorsky UH-60M, February 2013. His future career plans include the completion of his bachelor degree in Science Professional Aeronautics from Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University. He has future goals of completing Readiness Level Progression training, make Pilot in Command, and eventually become an Instructor Pilot.
As one of the Army's newest UH-60M pilots, Boatman would like to share his accomplishments with other Mississippi youth considering attendance to YCA.
"If traditional high school is not working for you, then YCA is a good alternative. The military isn't for everyone, but it does provide some great opportunities for those willing to serve," said Boatman.
Boatman is married to wife Allison Boatman and they have two daughters Elissa, 5 and Hailey 3. They are expecting a son in June.