Our August Pilot under the light is Blackwatch! He is very active on the boards and great help for many pilots new and old.
“Hello and thanks for picking me to be the next on the Spotlight Pilot. I think this is a great way for Pilots and Cadets, as well as our supporters around the world, to get to know the Members of the 501st Legion: Vaders’ Fist and the Jolly Roger Squadron.”
1. Whats your name and why did you pick your callsign?
My real name is David and my 501st Legion callsign is Dewka, Ti-4019. I chose Blackwatch as my Pilot call sign the day that I received my Legion ID number. I go by both, but I always know a Pilot is using my name (often in vain!) when I hear Blackwatch. Members of the Legion get to choose their unique ID number, and our numbers are usually something significant to us.
2. How long have you been a part of the JRS, and what is it that sparked your interest in joining?
I joined the Jolly Roger Squadron forum right after the new year in 2008. I had been surfing Omega Wing forums, and learned that there was another club, the 501st Legion, with a Pilot Detachment. I had recently attended a short event with Bast Alpha Garrison in attendance, and just a month prior to that, my wife had gone to this convention called Dragon*Con. I had never heard of it, and had zero interest in costuming of any kind. I reallly was the anti-costumer, and thought that people who made and wore costumes were “weird”. That changed during that small event that I attended with my nephews when I let myself be absorbed by what was going on around me, and saw the quality of the costumes This was not “fancy dress” Halloween quality stuff. I was awarded my TkID (Legion Identification Membership Number) in October of that year.
In five years I have gone from no interest in costuming whatsoever to being a ranking member of the 501st Legion Command Staff, as well as Garrison and Detachment staff. A lot has certainly changed for me since joining this forum.
3. Of all of the troops that you have done, what would you say is the one that stands out in your mind in meaning the most to you and why?
That is hard to say since so many of my troops are charity based. I have helped raise funds for very sick children as well as abused animals. However, one event that does clearly stand out in my mind is the Crystal Ball Gala event held in Southhaven Mississippi, January 2012. I was 501st Legion Public Relations Officer at that time and was very happy to report on the 501st.com website that a combined total of over 200,000 US Dollars had been collected that night during the black-tie event, and that money was destined for local charities. This was a large event attended by over a hundred costumed members of the 501st Legion and Rebel Legion from five surrounding Garrisons and Rebel Bases. That truly was a great night to be a Pilot.
4. How has being a part of the 501st/JRS impacted your life?
Thats’ an interesting question, and I will answer it in the same way that I answer those who ask “why do you do it”. Simply put, it changes your life. I had never been among costumers, people who attend conventions or the like. However, I have spent my life with model builders, and in essence our costumes- uniforms if you will- are 1:1 scale models of those seen on screen. I found a niche that I fit into very well. Not only do I get to wear my creation to have fun, but I am socially engaged with an *extremely* diverse group of like minded costumers, artisans and supporters. My personal skill-set had increased tremendously. I have built not only my own costumes and props, but many other costumes and props for others. From Clones to Sith Lords and Bounty hunters, my costuming skills continue to grow. My costuming is not limited to Star Wars. I have built several Battlestar Galactica costumes as well as worked on costumes from other franchises.
5. Outside of trooping and 501st/JRS related stuff, what do you do for a living, and what are some other interests or hobbies that you have?
I am a aviation mechanic by trade, but have a wide and varied skillset. I taught for five years in public schools, was a truck driver, a school bus driver and grew up in retail stores. My main hobby is and always will be model building, and this is a natural extension of that. Whether a Blastech E-11 is 1:1 scale or 1/4 scale really makes no difference to me, and I treat them equally.
6. Can you give us an idea as to the kind of support you get from friends and family regarding the 501st and all the great things that you have done for the JRS?
I find a lot of support from my friends and family, both on social media & in real life. I often get a lot of questions about what my current projects are, and what I will be doing in the future. I often run into an obstacle, only to find a solution in someone that I know. I currently work with a team of worldwide Mentors in the Jolly Roger Squadron that assist Cadets who may have never worn, or built a costume. We as Mentors help them source their gear, and assemble it in a realistic fashion. When I first came to the forums in 2008 I read everything, and didn’t post much. My learning curve was vertical for a month. My time was spent reading, and learning. That knowledge base has paid off, and now I write tutorials and assist others with their costumes.
7. And lastly, is there anything, Star Wars related or not, that people might not know about you that they might be surprised to find out?
People who do not know me may be surprised to find out that Im not really a “Mega Fan”. By that I mean I do not have all the latest collectibles and my house is not decked out with all the Sideshow and Gentle Giant busts. I have some JRS and Star Wars related items around my desk as well as some very personal items given to me by Legion brothers and sisters. My first and true cinema love is old B movies and I often spend my Saturday night watching whatever I can find loaded to Youtube.
The Legion has given me many opportunities. As a Member of the Legion, I have participated in things and been a part of events that I would never have dreamed of ten years ago. I have a family of almost 6,500 members which is not something I can say of other clubs I belong to.
If you let it, the Legion really will change your life, and in doing so you will help change the lives of others around you.