To Lose One Of Our Own......

>> 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.
But we all still came together as a family to celebrate his life, to toast his memory and pledge our support to his wife and his children.

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.

10 comments:

MaryAnne August 9, 2011 at 2:23 PM  

I am so sorry. The military family really does know how to pull together, but it certainly brings home the risk your husband and others in the military take on in support of our country.

Michelle August 9, 2011 at 3:48 PM  

I am so sorry for your loss.
What a very distinguished and honorable post.

Too Many Hats August 9, 2011 at 4:39 PM  

I am so sorry. When I saw the news coverage, I thought of you. Even though I haven't been in teh blogosphere for a year, your blog came immediately to my mind. Big hugs, what a very difficult time.

Dawn August 10, 2011 at 12:49 AM  

I have no idea how you can so eloquently express with your words such a great sorrow. Praying for his family and his Army family as you guys grieve and put all the pieces of life back together. Love you!

LF August 10, 2011 at 2:57 PM  

My deepest sympathies to all!! Two of the young men were from my hometown. In fact, one was one of my students when I did my student teaching in an elementary school many years ago. So sad!! Hugs!!

Mr Mistoffelees August 12, 2011 at 12:04 AM  

You and yours are in my thoughts. What a dreadful thing to happen. I too saw it in the news when it happened. I cannot imagine the courage it must take to be a military wife. My husband was in the navy in Vietnam in 1968 but I did not meet him till many years later so I did not go through what you do every day. We have been together 23 years. A life time. but I cannot say if I would be with him today had I met him then. I dont know if I could have found the courage.

viviankirkfield August 13, 2011 at 10:44 PM  

Thank you for sharing this with your readers...many of whom know so little about military life and loss.
In sharing, I hope your burden is a little lighter...our prayers for continued strength and courage are with you.

The New "Normal" August 15, 2011 at 8:32 AM  

I am so sorry for the loss to you "family". The tragedy breaks my heart. I'm always humbled to see how much the military community pulls together, it really is a family. His family and all of yours are in my prayers.

(Stopping over from National Guard Wives on Facebook.)

Raising a Happy Child August 16, 2011 at 5:34 PM  

This is such a tragic loss. My heart goes to the families and friends of these brave men who lost their lives. I cannot imagine living an Army life but admire people who do it for their country.

Jenny August 22, 2011 at 9:54 PM  

My cousin served as a Marine, my grandfather as a mechanic during WWII, and my father-in-law served in the Army in Korea. I honor their service and the service of all of the military who fight for the freedom of our country and others.

I just wish everyone in America also acknowledged them and took steps to thank them for the freedoms we enjoy.

Jenny
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