Salute to Veterans with Christian Whalen, U.S. Army

Christian Whalen served as an Aviation Crew Chief in the Army from 1987 to 2007. He started his career at Jefferson Lab in 2013 and now works as the Property Manager/Officer.

"The dynamic nature of the environment in foreign country deployments requires you to be able to assess and respond to events quickly and decisively," said Whalen."While the situations are far less dramatic here, the same principles apply..."
 

Q&A with Christian Whalen, U.S. Army

What did you do for the military?
Army Aviation crew-chief/mechanic/supervisor. I started working on Bell 206/OH-58s (think News helicopter), transitioned to Blackhawks about mid-career, got into the special forces and got trained on airplanes, foreign aircraft, and multiple civilian and military helicopters. I finished as a First Sergeant of a Chinook heavy lift company in Iraq.

What made you decide to join the military?
A combination of things: 64 credit hours of college in one year and I loved aviation!

Why did you choose the branch of service that you did?
The Army guaranteed my job in helicopters as a mechanic, which meant I could fly on the maintenance test flights.

What was your favorite part of the job?
The thrill of the action; rappelling out of helicopters, parachuting out of C-130's, long range orienteering. I spent seven years in Germany and loved traveling on weekends seeing the different countries.

What was your most interesting/favorite deployment or duty station and why?

My time in the 1 SFOD-D because of the variety and intensity of the training and the direct difference it made when we had a deployment.

What skills did you develop that you use now after your military career?
I always hated having to do public speaking when I was younger, but through the leadership training and my time as a recruiter, I now enjoy doing presentations. The other main skill I have used since my retirement has been team leadership. The dynamic nature of the environment in foreign country deployments requires you to be able to assess and respond to events quickly and decisively. While the situations are far less dramatic here, the same principles apply to the way we serve our Jefferson Lab folks in my section.

The regional home of Jefferson Lab, Hampton Roads, has a rich military history. Located in Southeastern Virginia, the region is currently home to more than 80,000 men and women in uniform, representing every branch of the armed forces. Throughout November 2018, Jefferson Lab is celebrating the region's military ties by highlighting some of our veteran employees who have served in the armed forces and who continue to serve their nation by supporting the research efforts carried out at the laboratory.

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Jefferson Science Associates, LLC, a joint venture of the Southeastern Universities Research Association, Inc. and PAE Applied Technologies, manages and operates the Thomas Jefferson National Accelerator Facility, or Jefferson Lab, for the U.S. Department of Energy's Office of Science.DOE’s Office of Science is the single largest supporter of basic research in the physical sciences in the United States, and is working to address some of the most pressing challenges of our time. For more information, visit science.energy.gov.