Tomorrow I will be back to posting Tarot musings – today I want to talk about an article in our local (Olympia, Washington) paper. Staff writer Christian Hill accompanied fifteen airmen from the 62nd Aerial Port Squadron at Mc Chord AFB as they flew four C-17 cargo jets to Haiti for ongoing relief efforts (delivering equipment, supplies and much needed water).
He references them as the Air Force equivalent of NASCAR drivers – they land, unload the cargo, and board evacuees with the engines still running so the emptied jet can take off as quickly as possible to make room for the next flight. The bottom line – there is not enough room at this small airport for the flood of arriving aircraft (to say nothing of the lack of a tower!).
Many of these servicemen have already served in Iraq and Afghanistan – areas where the local population is divided, and military presence is not always received well. The opportunity to help with relief to Haiti gives them something back – visibility, respect, and appreciation.
The evacuees were deplaned in Orlando, FL, where they were met by police and customs enforcement officers. Their thanks to the crew that flew them over was to applaud them – a gift from their heart.
Hill goes on to note that on his civilian flight back to Washington state, as the plane taxied to the runway, the flight attendant followed her safety briefing by noting that there were US service members on board, and recognizing their service to their country. Applause rang out on the plane.
Reading the article that this information came from warmed my heart and soul. It made me very proud of my country, and the men and women that risk their lives to make it what it is.
© January 2010 Bonnie Cehovet