Kentucky Guard Aviator flies high in best of both worlds

Story by Capt. Stephen Martin, Kentucky National Guard

Joel Bowling

Officer Joel Bowling, Lexington Police Department. (Photo courtesy of CW2 Bowling)

Joel Bowling

Chief Warrant Officer Joel Bowling, B Co., 2nd Battalion, 147th Aviation Regiment. (Photo courtesy of CW2 Bowling)

FRANKFORT, Ky. — The noted writer and blogger Eliezer Yudkowsky once said, “The police officer who puts their life on the line with no superpowers, no X-Ray vision, no super-strength, no ability to fly, and above all no invulnerability to bullets, reveals far greater virtue than Superman – who is only a mere superhero.”  Well, Lexington Police Officer Joel Bowling fits this description minus the fact that he can fly — UH-60 Blackhawks that is.

Officer Bowling, also known as Army Chief Warrant Officer Bowling, is currently a UH-60 Blackhawk pilot for Bravo Co. 2nd Battalion, 147th Aviation, based out of Frankfort, Ky.

“Joel brings a great sense of professionalism to the cockpit and a calm under pressure that’s rare among his peers,” said Bowling’s military commander, Capt. Cliff Flanagan. “His time as a police officer on the civilian side brings a huge wealth of experience to our unit and I wouldn’t trade it for anything.”

To see more photos of CW2 Bowling, please click HERE.

“Flying helicopters has always been a dream of mine,” said Bowling. “but I never thought it would be possible in the National Guard. Through hard work, dedication and a little bit of luck, I was able to make this dream a reality.”

Bowling joined the Kentucky Guard exactly one-year before the Sept. 11 attacks in 2001, as a combat medic with the 617th Military Police (MP) Company, in Richmond, Ky.

In September of 2004, he was promoted to the rank of Sergeant over the medical section and then deployed to the middle east in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom.

Bowling

Chief Warrant Officer Joel Bowling, formerly Sgt. Bowling, deployed to the Middle East in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom in 2004-2005. (Photo courtesy of CW2 Bowling)

For eleven months Bowling provided medical support to MPs and other units who were running main supply route patrols and convoy security. Bowling was selected for a flight medic position with the C Co. 2nd Battalion, 238th Aviation Medical Evauation Unit out of Frankfort, Ky. after his deployment to Iraq. He was then accepted to flight school in 2008 and graduated as a UH-60 Blackhawk pilot.

When Bowling’s not flying helicopters for the National Guard, he serves as a patrolman for the Lexington Division of Police.

Bowling joined the police force in 2002 and has served in several different positions throughout his 12-year career, to include a specialized unit focusing on eliminating ‘part one’ crimes: narcotics, prostitution, auto thefts and burglaries. He’s since moved on to a being a field training officer for the organization, working with new recruits that have just finished the police academy.

“Joel’s enthusiasm has helped him build a great rapport with both our citizens and his colleagues alike,” commented Commander Gregg Jones, from the Lexington Division of Police. “He does a great job of communicating with the public and understanding their needs.”

This warrant officer manages both careers well which demand a lot of his attention to remain proficient in both disciplines… all while keeping a family happy at home.

“I’m blessed to have a wonderful wife and three beautiful children who are extremely supportive of both my careers,” said Bowling.