NEWS | March 27, 2023
By Sgt. 1st Class Terra C. Gatti Virginia National Guard Public Affairs Office
RICHMOND, Va. – As a little girl, the sound of helicopter rotor blades spinning over 1st Lt. Valerie Harter’s house would send her running. Her childhood home lay in the flight path of medical evacuation helicopters flying to and from her local hospital. When she heard the rotor blades, whatever she was doing was quickly forgotten and anything that blocked her path to a clear view of the aircraft overhead was demolished.
On March 11, 2023, Harter took command of the Virginia National Guard’s Medevac detachment, the Chesterfield-based Detachment 2, Charlie Company, 1st Battalion, 169th Aviation Regiment, in a ceremony held at the Virginia National Guard’s Army Aviation Support Facility in Sandston, Virginia. Instead of staring into the skies marveling at the aircraft up above, she’s piloting them.
Despite Harter’s lifelong love of aviation, it wasn’t her initial career field when she joined the Virginia National Guard in 2012. She talked to several recruiters during her senior year of high school and carefully weighed her options. She was planning to attend nursing school at the University of Virginia and the National Guard seemed liked the best fit.
“The Army National Guard has more education benefits than any other service branch or their respective components,” Harter said. UVA allowed her to defer her enrollment for a year while she completed basic and advanced training as a 94E Radio Communications Security Repairer. Then, she maximized usage of the National Guard’s educational benefits to achieve her goals.
Story credit: Virginia National Guard, The Commonwealth’s Guardian, https://va.ng.mil/News/Article/3342001/flight-dreams-realized-for-new-vng-medevac-commander/