Local News

Fayetteville Wife Follows Dream, Becomes Army Pilot

Posted April 18, 2003

— A Fayetteville woman who left her copywriting job is now following her dream to become an Army pilot.

Friday was enlistment day for 30-year-old Joy Wheeler. She said she always wanted to fly, so soon she will take off for the Army's Warrant Officer Flight Training Program. She hopes to become a helicopter pilot.

Staff Sgt. Steven Wheeler, Joy's husband, has been in Iraq with Fort Bragg's 82nd Airborne Division for about a month.

Joy has not spoken to him since he left. Sgt. Wheeler knew his wife was applying for the training program. She was accepted Monday, so he has no idea this is the day she was joining the ranks.

"He would say, 'Good for you, Joy,'" Joy said. "He always has been my biggest supporter and I know he thinks the world of me and thinks I can accomplish anything."

The Wheelers have been married 10 years. They said they are both patriotic. In fact, they were married on July 4. Sgt. Linda Perry said Joy has experience as a military wife and has all the makings of a great soldier.

"Her determination and will, she has that and that's what you need to be successful in the Army," she said.

Joy wishes her husband was in town to go through the process with her.

"Especially since he was important to me in making this decision and supporting me along the way, it was bittersweet," she said.

Wheeler leaves for basic training in a month. She has written her husband with the news and hopes he will soon get word.


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