YSU student: "I was so happy that I could help"

Nicholas Orcutt, a YSU student and member of the 910th Airlift Wing, Youngstown Air Reserve Station, stands in front of a C-130 cargo plane used to transport equipment and personnel to Puerto Rico.
A Youngstown State University sophomore left his classwork behind for three weeks earlier this semester when he was deployed to hurricane-ravaged Puerto Rico as an Air Force Reservist with the 910th Airlift Wing, Youngstown Air Reserve Station.

Nicholas Orcutt, 20, a Computer Science major at YSU, was the youngest member of the nine-person team of reservists called to deliver necessary equipment, materials and workers in the aftermath of the storm. “When we got there the first day there was no power, no water, and only one working telephone,” he said, recalling the battered small aircraft and shards of metal that lined the runway.

Orcutt is a loadmaster for the 910th, charged with coordinating the process of loading and unloading tons of cargo and personnel onto massive C-130 cargo planes. He was impressed with the way the pilot, co-pilots and other crew members worked together as a team to meet tight delivery deadlines.

“I didn’t have a normal sleep schedule for that three weeks, honestly,” he said. “It was hard sometimes, but I loved it because I could see the impact we were having. I was so happy that I could help.”

Orcutt joined the Air Force Reserves immediately after high school and spent a year of basic training and technical training before enrolling at YSU. His parents live in Washington, D.C., and are both career Air Force – his mother, Pauline, recently retired as a Major and public affairs director at the Youngstown Air Reserve Station; his father, Chief Master Sgt. Dennis Orcutt Jr., works at the Pentagon.

Orcutt hopes for a military career as well, as an officer and pilot, and he’s building his resume. Besides his responsibilities as a full-time student at YSU and a reservist, he’s an adult leader for Boy Scout Troop 4025 in Champion Township and is enrolled in the Air Force ROTC program at Kent State University. “My goal is to go from the back of the airplane to the front,” he said.