MEDEVAC finishes packing ... their helicopters, bags
November 27, 2007
CAMP TAJI, Iraq - The medical evacuation unit for the 1st Cavalry Division is headed back home to Fort Carson, Colo., Nov. 18, after a short delay in Balad, Iraq.
Soldiers from Company C "Witch Doctors," 2nd Battalion, 227th Aviation Regiment, 1st Air Cavalry Brigade, 1st Cav. Div., packed up their UH-60 Black Hawk helicopters and stored them in massive transport airplanes headed for the states.
The whole process went well for the Witch Doctors, said Tampa, Fla., native Spc. Chris Milana, a crew chief for Co. C.
"The day we got up here we folded (the helicopters) up. It was actually a really smooth process. It was all well planned out ahead of time so it went real smooth."
Even though Co. C kept their end of the bargain by having the helos ready for transport by a certain date, the Air Force ran into some issues so the Soldiers had to wait.
But now the day has finally come where the last task for the Witch Doctors is customs.
The hustle and bustle of bags getting thrown around and emptied onto stainless steel tables is almost enough to cause sensory overload, but for the Witch Doctors, this is a breeze.
The Soldiers know that it's nothing in comparison to the daily life in Iraq where they were constantly barraged with casualties of war.
"'Joe' doesn't get up in the morning and say 'I'm going to go kick in doors and get hurt,' but we get up in the morning and hope that we don't get a single phone call. Because when the phone rings somebody's hurt," said Boulder, Colo., native 1st Sgt. David Falk, the senior enlisted Soldier of Co. C.
But even if that phone rang, Falk knew his Soldiers were ready for the task, he said.
"They've done it for several tours. For some it's their third tour here," he said. "It's another year down, it's another year of successful missions of making sure somebody's mother or somebody's father is home. And that's the best part."
That success is a shared sentiment throughout the Witch Doctor ranks.
"(The mission) was great; I got to save people's lives all year for the most part. It was very rewarding," said Phoenix native Spc. John Brode, a crew chief for Co. C.
Although their deployment was rewarding, Co. C is looking forward to heading home, said Brode.
"I just can't wait to go home; 15 months is a long time," he said.
Brode feels he'll be a little more grateful for the small things upon his return to the United States.
"I probably won't take things for granted ... like going to the store, driving your vehicle, staying up as late as you want; things like that," he said.
Family and food are almost always at the forefront of Soldiers' minds come redeployment day. For Falk, this is no exception.
"It's time to go home. It's time to see the wife; it's time to see the kids," he said.
What type of food is he looking forward to the most'
"Any kind of food that doesn't come on a plastic tray that I have to eat with a plastic fork on a plastic plate ... any food that is not mass produced is what I'm looking forward to eating," he said. "Not to mention I would like to have a nice glass of beer, yeah, a beer."
Falk, though happy to be heading home, is still down when it comes to one subject - Sgt. William Brown.
Brown was a crew chief for the Witch Doctors who lost his life June 23 from wounds received in an indirect fire attack.
Brown's wife will be at the homecoming and Falk will be giving her donations taken from their unit and throughout the brigade, he said.
Also, there will be a ceremony later on where Brown's name will be placed on a large marble memorial dedicated to Soldiers of the 571st MEDEVAC Company - now Company C, 2-227th, said Falk.
With their homecoming within reach, the Soldiers of Co. C settle down in the waiting room. Waiting on their flight; waiting to see their families; waiting to see the mountains of Colorado.
Waiting - it's something their accustomed to.