NYAO, Ep: 040 – Matthew Hopper
The boys had the immense privilege to have a sit down with the great Matthew Hopper. This is a name that most people will never know, but in the shadows of the Army’s Special Operations Aviation Regiment and a very tight inner circle, this name is a currency in competence and authenticity. That’s to say, Matt is the guy you turn to when the objective looks bleak, and it’s an absolute no fail mission. Starting his storied Army career as a Cavalry Scout in 1995, he served in various enlisted leadership positions, before being selected for the Army’s Warrant Officer Flight Training program. One of his last assignments as a Scout was with the, then, avant garde Stryker Brigade out of Ft Lewis, Washington where he helped establish the Army’s first Reconnaissance, Surveillance, and Target Acquisition (RSTA) Squadron.
His flying career was just as preeminent. Growing up in the Medevac world out of Ft. Irwin, CA, Matt soon found himself augmenting and sharpening his skills as an assault pilot in South Korea. This would soon pay dividends when he completed assessment & selection for the shadowy Night Stalkers, or more commonly known as Task Force 160, becoming a household name after the film adaptation of Mark Bowden’s popular book Black Hawk Down. It was here that Matt finished his last 7 years of Honorable service to the Greatest Nation.
However, trail blazers like him hardly take the easy road anywhere. Shortly after stepping out of the Army uniform, Matthew Hopper dove head first into the commercial aviation world. After ebbing and flowing, he landed his dream legacy airline where he currently resides. More notably for those lucky enough to know him, and call him a close friend & confidant, he’s paved yet another route into a world that most “rotor heads” have historically considered extremely challenging to break into; if not impossible (which deserves its own episode!!). If nothing else is gleaned from this episode, I think every listener will agree, at a minimum, is that people like Matt Hopper should be treasured. This is a man who has continually, and consistently put everyone else before him. From his young Scout days as a motivated junior enlisted leader, to instructor pilot, and now as an ambassador for the most eminent legacy airline, Matt’s principles have remained steadfast. Always forward. Always upward. And at the core of that is his unwavering loyalty to his friends, family, and those he serves.
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