Members of the ETSU Army ROTC program experienced the thrilling sensation of a helicopter ride on the campus’s intramural fields Thursday.

Lt. Col. Glen Howie said this was a treat for the students who participate in ROTC. After all the hard work the students have put in this semester, the ROTC leadership figured they deserved a bit of fun.

Those in ROTC were granted a ride in the helicopter, otherwise referred to as the Black Hawk. Though considered a lab assignment, it had a sense of fun embedded in it.

Lt. Col. Howie said the ride allowed the future soldiers to familiarize themselves with the sensation of flying and the standard safety procedures required to ride in a helicopter.

The ride lasted approximately 15 to 20 minutes, but every second was worth it, according to ROTC private Priya Kaur.

“I got to sit on the edge, so you can look over and look down,” Kaur said. “You can see the treetops, and it’s so awesome.”

The helicopter took its passengers over the mountains and into Erwin to see what the ground looked like from a bird’s eye view — or a soldier’s.

“All the mountains are beautiful,” said ROTC private Jordan Feagins.

U.S. Army soldiers oversaw the entire operation, so standard protocol was issued for each of the helicopter rides.

“I am actually terrified of heights, but I wasn’t scared of heights sitting there,” Kaur said. “It was really secure. It was a blast actually.”

This year, ROTC had reached its highest recorded numbers in the program. It’s building and will only continue to do so, said Howie.

“You can only get this experience with ROTC,” Feagins said.