I spent the better part of the last 30 days visiting military installations/hospitals all over the US East of the Rockies… In a Prevost motor home on loan to the VAC Foundation by VAC volunteers Bruce and Rosemary Rose (who, incidentally just flew a gang of wounded warriors to Boston from Walter Reed for the Boston Marathon for the second year running. Pun intended). It was a road trip of great value to the VAC. The wounded warrior units and family assistance centers as well as wounded warriors themselves heard directly about our work. Mission requests have spiked as a result.
A stop at Ft. Riley, KS with volunteer pilot Scott Hallock garnered us an “on the spot” mission (forever cementing our value in the minds of the Family Assistance folks at Ft. Riley) to deliver a combat stressed soldier home to the funeral of his best friend who had just been killed in Afghanistan. Having just dismounted from the first leg of my motor home tour from MN to Ft. Riley, I flew back to MN the following day with Scott to deliver our passenger home in time for the funeral. Two hours from mission request, we were airborne. Nice work, Scott! I hope we were able to manage expectations about future missions. We don’t always have a pilot with an available aircraft in the room when a travel need surfaces, but we are getting closer.
Then on to Ft. Carson, Ft. Hood, and Brook Army Medical Center at Ft. Sam Houston. Great connections all around. At Ft. Sam I had the privilege of having dinner with a Special Ops Marine (MARSOC operator of the year) that we had just flown (he and his family) to Bethesda to be at the bedside for the passing of his best friend who was mortally wounded the week before. This Marine was a real inspiration. We were invited, as a result , to visit the SOCOM (Special Operations Command) HQ in Tampa (MacDill AFB) to brief them on our operation and receive a briefing on their Care Coalition. They take care of their wounded in a unique and honorable fashion. We have since been tasked with a number of missions for SOCOM unit members (all special ops types), and have executed with flying colors… expect that we might become their “air arm”…
From MacDill, we stopped at Ft. Stewart and then Ft. Bragg where we connected well on several fronts. Immediate mission requests followed the visits, and quick execution again bolstered our reputation. Then on to Walter Reed where we were treated as VIP’s and given an in depth tour of the MATC rehab center.
6000 miles of windshield time gives one time to reflect on what a great nation we live in. One worth preserving. If you have read this far, I am going to ask you to set aside 15 minutes to watch a very powerful video. While it features the VAC in part, the real story centers around one of our passengers. It will inspire you and give you hope for the future of America. Titled “A Tale of Two Americas," I urge you to watch it and help make it viral…even our children should see this.
God Bless America!