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      Citizen soldier helps colleagues soar to new heights

      COLUMBIA (WACH) â?? The military has been just as good for this weekâ??s citizen soldier as heâ??s been for the military.

      Sgt. Todd Sturgell enlisted in the South Carolina Army National Guard 13 years ago and says itâ??s one of the best decisions heâ??s ever made. â??I joined the service back in 2000; came out of high school didn't really have a whole lot going on and I decided to change my path in life and joined the military,â?? he said.

      Sgt. Sturgell is a crew chief on an AH-64D Apache â??Longbowâ??; part of the 1-151st Attack Reconnaissance Battalion based at McEntire Joint National Guard Base just outside of the city of Columbia. He performs maintenance on the Apache attack helicopter and prepares it for training and combat missions. â??They're our main maintainers and without aircraft being maintained properly we won't have functional aircraft to complete whatever mission is passed down to us,â?? said Chief Warrant Officer 2, Kevin Afflick, an Apache pilot.

      Sgt.Sturgell works in the security division at the Savannah River Site in Aiken when heâ??s not out at McEntire. He credits the National Guard with straightening him up and putting him on the right path, which may explain why he chose his current role in the military.

      As crew chief he does all he can to make sure his fellow soldiers are traveling as safely as possible on whatever path they take to accomplish a mission. â??It makes you feel good that you can take care of something as expensive and you're trusted with something as expensive as this aircraft.â??