Don Lines, United States Army National Guard

Base Line Pilot, Air Evac Lifeteam

In January of 2023, Don Lines will retire from the Tennessee Army National Guard after 22 years of service. He was a combat medic for six years and has spent the last 16 as a helicopter pilot, a role that he also performs with distinction in civilian life as a base pilot for Air Evac Lifeteam.

Lines has been deployed four times in his military career: in Iraq as a medic and again as a pilot; in Afghanistan as a pilot; and in several African countries as a safety officer. In Iraq and Afghanistan, he flew the OH-58D Kiowa Warrior, a single-engine, single-rotor military helicopter used for scouting, utility and direct fire support. In addition to state-of-the-art avionics, instrumentation and navigation systems, the OH-58D was equipped as a light gunship, armed with .50 caliber machine guns, air-to-ground missiles and 70mm Hydra rockets.

Lines’ call to service extends to his civilian life, where he has been a medic and a firefighter in addition to his army career. He has been with Air Evac since 2019 and served with another air medical transport company for five years prior to that. “I love the industry of helping folks out on their worst day,” he said, adding that his military training not only gave him the requisite flight time for his civilian role, but prepared him mentally, as well.

“The military has given me the ability to adapt and think on the fly. The aircraft I’ve piloted require a lot of changes and immediate actions. I love the challenge of landing in odd places, changing coordinates en route, figuring out fuel, etc.—all on the fly.”

Rank Achieved
Lines is a Chief Warrant Officer 4 (CW4)—a senior-level technical and tactical expert.

Countries Deployed

  • Iraq
  • Afghanistan
  • Djibouti
  • Somalia
  • Kenya

Most Interesting Military Memory
On one of Lines’ deployments, he was in combat, piloting his Kiowa Warrior, when he had to perform a difficult maneuver to rescue U.S. soldiers under attack.