CHS grad joins president's helicopter crew

Friday, November 17, 2006

A year and a half after graduating from Cassville High School, LCPL Daniel Hagan is now serving as a member of President George Bush's helicopter maintenance crew.

Hagan, the son of Bob and Tracy Hagan, of Eagle Rock, is currently attached to the HMX1 out of Quantico, Va. To become a member of the presidential helicopter squadron, Hagan had to undergo extensive testing and background checks. He was one of only five Marines initially selected for consideration.

Hagan's military journey began just a few months after he graduated from CHS in May of 2005. Although Hagan enlisted in the Marine's delayed entry program in 2004, he did not enter boot camp at the Marine Corps Reserve Depot in San Diego, Calif., until August of 2005. After 12 weeks, Hagan graduated from boot camp and was transferred to Pensacola, Fla., where he underwent a year of training in jet, helicopter and ground equipment mechanics.

"Daniel always talked about working on airplanes and he showed aptitude for it and that set the wheels in motion," said Daniel's mom, Tracy.

After his initial training, Hagan was sent to Coronado Island for advanced training. While at Coronado, Hagan discovered the military was looking for one person to serve on the presidential helicopter fleet.

In order to be considered for the position, Hagan had to pass certain qualifying standards, which included a detailed review of his grades, physical fitness scores and character.

"At first they picked five candidates, then they narrowed it down to two, and after an intense month of background checks and interviews, Daniel was selected," said Tracy.

"I was getting my hair done when he called to tell me, and I immediately started crying," said Tracy. "It's quite an honor to be chosen."

Hagan is now stationed in Quantico, Va., and will spend his time travelling back and forth between Virginia and Camp David. He has also enrolled in Northern Virginia Community College and hopes to eventually re-enlist as an officer candidate.

When Hagan chose to pursue a military career, he was following in the footsteps of both his grandfathers, Robert Callahan and the late Arthur Hagan. The two men each spent 30 years in the military and retired as Navy master chiefs.

"Daniel saw the life they have now, and he wanted that," said Tracy. "His dad and I are so proud of him, and we're happy he's found success. This is one of the best things that has ever happened for him."

Hagan's younger siblings, Matthew, 16, Nathen, 15, and Christian, 12, are also proud of their big brother. Christian never travels anywhere without a picture of his brother in uniform, and Tracy said her youngest son also likes to wear a Marine Corps hat whenever he has the chance.

When Hagan returned home from boot camp, his family held a flag-raising ceremony in the front yard of the family home in Eagle Rock.

"A Marine Corps flag now flies in our front yard," said Tracy. "We had our family and friends come for the ceremony and we prayed for Daniel."

Hagan's appointment as a member of the president's helicopter maintenance squadron is a four-year commitment. According to Tracy, Hagan will be undeployable for four years.

"Daniel loves his country, and he believes in this war," said Tracy. "He believes we're over there for a purpose."

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