>> Tuesday, August 9, 2011
You've probably noticed that I haven't been blogging much this summer - combination of heat, visiting relatives, and just sheer laziness. But recent events have compelled me to write. Writing is therapeutic for me and I'm processing a lot right now.
As many of you have seen or heard on the news recently, there was an air combat incident in which a Chinook helicopter was shot down. Our Battalion received notification on Saturday, August 6th that one of the casualties on board that helicopter was one of our own. CW4 Dave Carter was the co-pilot of that aircraft and bravely & heroically gave his all doing what he loved the best.
Also on that aircraft were CW2 Nichols, SGT Pat Hamburger, SPC Duncan, and SPC Bennett.
The day started off as any other - My Marine heading in to the base for another day of drill and me getting ready to play Cinderella at the Aviation Ball which was to be held that night. I saw the coverage on the news and immediately called a good friend of mine who's husband was over there and flies on those helicopters. I heard back from her right away that she had heard from him and that he was ok. Nothing more. I breathed a sigh of relief thinking we were out of the woods -- but we weren't.
At the Ball that night, we were mingling and socializing during the cocktail hour. Something just didn't feel right to me. The mood was just.....off. I saw the Chaplain and as we talked, all he could say was "wait for the Commander's announcement" all the while looking at me in the eye. It was then that I knew something was terribly wrong. Our fears were confirmed when the First Sergeant of our company pulled me aside to inform me that we lost Dave in that incident. His next words to me were "hold it together". The rest of the night was a blur - gone in a fog of:
- Having to tell my husband that a respected colleague and friend of his was gone
- Watching as word started to spread like wildfire and seeing the faces of those wives who's husbands are over there collapse in tears. Offering my support - giving out hugs, tissues, whatever was needed to help them get through.
- Having to sit through the ceremony honoring our MIA and KIA soldiers - knowing the meaning was even more bittersweet that night.
- Hearing the Battalion Commander break the news to all of us -- that as a family, we lost a brother, colleague, and dear friend.
I have never felt so proud to be a part of the Army as I did Saturday night. We are truly a family. And yes, like any family, there are "aunts" and "uncles" and "cousins" that we may not like or agree with. There's always some "black sheep" in the family. And, yes, there are even favorites. But when it comes down to it, we are still a family.
And we are grieving the loss of a brother. God bless and fly with the angels Dave. You will be greatly missed by your Army family.