The AH-64 Apache helicopter is the world’s most lethal and survivable multimission attack helicopter and is one of the best aircraft being used by the United States Army that gives them overwhelming firepower and a tremendous advantage in any combat mission.

Piloting this type of war fighting aircraft needs to have courage, strength, and nerves of steel like 1st Lt. Christal Pagaran Theriot, a Filipino-American who is the newly commissioned officer piloting a modern and deadly “Apache” combat chopper to the United States Army.

The Filipino community in the United States stands proud to 1st Lt. Christal Pagaran Theriot as the newest Filipino-American entrant to the US Army.

Photos courtesy of 1Lt. Christal Pagaran Theriot (US Army Aviation officer)

A petite and charming Theriot is a 24- year-old graduate of West Point (branching aviation) and now an Apache helicopter pilot who will soon be assigned abroad in the fall to handle a platoon.

Christal Theriot the eldest daughter of Joy Pagaran and John Theriot, when Christal was still a kid she always dreaming of becoming a soldier. She said, “I just want to be a soldier someday, that is my way of serving the country.”

When she was already 18 years old, Christal Theriot joined the United States Military Academy at West Point on June 27, 2011.

She went through the cadet basic training together with 1,200 newly recruits. It was a 6- week training program called “the Beast”, aiming to set their minds from being civilian to soldier.

That time she recalled that the beast was hard, but “it teaches you humility.”

A  soft-spoken Theriot said, “they were being yelled at all the time and told to drop and do push-ups anytime.”

Tackling the Beast towards the end of the course, Theriot got an A, while the normal or average was C.

1Lt. Christal Pagaran at the graduation ceremony in West Point. Photos courtesy of 1Lt. Christal Pagaran Theriot (US Army Aviation officer)

She then went through West Point and finished an aviation officer last February 2017.

A crying and very glad Theriot said: “I am happy how my parents brought me up, helpful of other and having strong faith.”

Joy Theriot, her mom is a recruitment director of the Unification Theological Seminary, said that her daughter Christal and younger siblings were raised appreciating and respecting Filipino roots.

Photos courtesy of 1Lt. Christal Pagaran Theriot (US Army Aviation officer)

Joy said, “I was very proud and happy,” because she affectionately remembered that Christal composed an article about her (Joy’s) youth life in the Philippines and she won first place in the contest and received $500 dollars”.

The new lieutenant is not just a solid willed trooper, she is also a gifted vocalist as well. In an interview, she said  “We ladies should know that we are strong women and we have talents and strength given by God.

Now that 1st Lt. Christal Pagaran Theriot is a proud soldier and Aviation officers of the United States of America. She will soon be in charge to coordinate/lead operations using Army helicopters like the OH-58 Kiowa, UH-60 Black Hawk, CH-47 Chinook and her favorite AH-64 Apache. – Jason E. Carl

Reference: Marivir R. Montebon (Positive Journalism), Photos courtesy of 1Lt. Christal Pagaran Theriot (US Army Aviation officer)