Celebrating Nicole Daisley, 82nd Airborne Helicopter Pilot

This American Heroine is living proof that hard work pays off

🇺🇸Honoring U.S. Army Veteran Nicole Daisley, CW3 (Retired), our August 2019 Missilette

✨Looking for a Way Out

The eldest of four, Nicole was born in North Tonawanda, New York, to a stay-at-home mom and a father who worked at Kodak. She says that after high school, the prospect of working fast-food while putting herself through community college terrified her more than joining the military. Nicole enlisted in the Army in 1995 as an Airborne Parachute Rigger, earning the title of Distinguished Honor Graduate at Fort Lee, VA. Her first duty station was Fort Bragg, NC, where she earned the position of Jump Master and challenged herself to work combat service support for US Army Special Operations (USASOC).    

U.S. Army Veteran and Helicopter Pilot Nicole Daisley, during her time on active duty

🚁Making the Most of Her Potential

Longing for more, Nicole decided to apply to become a helicopter pilot, promising herself a 20-year military career if she was chosen. In May of 2006, Nicole graduated flight school and within six months, found herself heading out to Afghanistan on her first deployment (of 3!), with the 82nd Combat Aviation Brigade. She says that every deployment was different and that each time, she learned new things about herself.  During the first one, she learned about her capabilities as a pilot.

"I was challenged by a lot of not-so-friendly male co-workers every single day... and I grinned and bared it because I knew I was better than them. I knew I could do the same things they could, and I wasn’t going to let their negativity bring me down."

Nicole Daisley, on being a female pilot

🌍Surviving Overseas Combat

Nicole performed air assaults during her second deployment and says the experience allowed her to distinguish herself as a reliable and competent soldier and pilot. "I had a couple of engagements with the enemy because of the nature of our unit's presence." Nicole supported the movement of Special Forces / Rangers / British/German SAS Troops to a high value target's location, in order to capture people. Because of one of these engagements, Nicole and her crew had the humbling experience of being awarded an Air Medal with "V" device. "I don’t feel like I did anything above and beyond what anyone else would do... I know, for a fact, that any other pilot/crew in my unit would have done the same thing... so, why did we get medals?"

📖Learning by Making Mistakes

Nicole feels that her third deployment, in 2013, was the hardest. She was a Chief Warrant Officer 3 and was put in charge of safety for the Battalion. Nicole says that this was when she learned the most about aviation, "...and we learned it the hard way- by making a lot of mistakes." She also deployed with her husband this time, leaving their infant son behind with his grandparents. "We couldn't have gotten through that without Skype!!!"

U.S. Army Veteran Nicole Daisley, Helicopter Pilot

👪Integrating Family and Career

Upon coming home, both Nicole and her husband were sent to Fort Ruck, AL, to be instructor pilots. "We retired from the Army there, and we moved to Michigan (where my husband grew up) in June of 2018." Nicole says that they are now building a Michigan home and are eagerly awaiting the day that they can move in. You've certainly earned it, Nicole!

Nicole with her family

Q & A with Nicole

Do you have any advice for a young woman considering joining the service?

"I would tell her to try it. There are so many great reasons to join the military, but only you know what’s best for you. Even if you serve for a couple years and decide it's not for you, at least you tried.  That's more than MANY people do these days. Be proud to go outside the norm and do something new and exciting."

What's a struggle you're currently facing?

"Fitting in with a non-military centered community and finding like minded individuals to become friends with."

What's your favorite saying?

"you never know"

How do you feel about being chosen as our Missilette?

"Humbled and honored and truthfully, a little bashful.  I think that the military instills a deep sense of team and I never really truly feel deserving of being singled out for recognition like this.  I don’t feel very special most of the time, lol."

HelloMissilia proudly welcomes Nicole into our community of like-minded women!   She's also a member of our Michigan Women of the Military Peer Support Group Program.  Will you please join or share these resources to help build the mental resiliency of women like Nicole?

Recreational therapy: HelloMissilia Founder Shelly Rood honoring Nicole at the 8th LaLonde Charity Open, benefiting the Veteran's Treatment Courts of Michigan, June 2019

How You Can Support The Mission:

In recognition of Nicole's bravery and integrity, we're treating her to a 1-year subscription to the HelloMissilia box.  If your company or organization supports strong women, please consider sponsoring our heroes by checking out our Sponsorship Information or emailing info@hellomissilia.com.

You can help ensure that stories of women who kick butt, like Nicole, are being shared and celebrated!  Every month, we feature the story of a U.S. female Hero in our HelloMissilia Box.  Subscribe today- your membership keeps encouraging women to do great things https://hellomissilia.com/products/hellomissilia-box