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For Chief Warrant Officer 4 Joshua Perrott, of Bethany, Illinois, military service began as a way for him to earn benefits for school and became something he really loved to do.
Perrott, who will retire from the Illinois Army National Guard Nov. 1 after more than three decades in uniform, took his final flight as an Army aviator, Aug. 3.
Perrott enlisted in the Illinois Army National Guard in October 1992 as a water systems installer, later transferring to the Signal Corps and then to Army Aviation. Following his transfer to Army Aviation, Perrott deployed in 2003 to Iraq with Company A, 9th Battalion, 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault).
“After transferring to aviation and returning from deployment, I found what I really loved to do and that was counter drug aviation and domestic operations,” he said. “I’ve served full time since about 2004 with counter drug aviation.”
Perrott, who serves in Company C, 1st Battalion, 376th Aviation Regiment in Decatur, was joined by family, including his parents, wife, Jaime, and young daughters, Scarlett, age 10 and Stella, age 5, and friends at the Army Aviation Support Facility in Decatur following his final flight. Perrott was met with the traditional water cannon salute by the Decatur Airport as he marked the end of the flight. Water cannon salutes are traditionally a sign of respect, honor, and gratitude to mark the last flight for a veteran pilot on their last flight.
Perrott said he appreciates the support from his family throughout his career.
“I had a crazy work schedule,” he said. “Any time we made plans, it had to be around my work schedule. They’ve endured a lot and I’ve missed a lot of things due to my work schedule.”
Perrott, who is rated to fly the UH-60 Blackhawk, OH-58 Kiowa, and the UH-72 Lakota, has flown his last flight as an Army aviator, however he’s not hanging up his flight suit just yet.
“After retirement, I’ll continue to fly, piloting civilian Emergency Medical Services helicopters,” he said. “I’ll miss supporting our civilian partners in the domestic operations arena, but I am looking forward to this next chapter in my life.”