Eagle Dustoff stands ready to serve
September 5, 2012
The four aircraft formed a perfect line, then parted ways and danced delicately into individual parking places Saturday at Fort Campbell, Ky. The trip was over, and the Medevac crews were ready to begin what was left of their 4-day weekend.
Within only hours of notification, eight crews of Eagle Dustoff (Company C, 7th Battalion, 101st Aviation Regiment, 159th Combat Aviation Brigade) traveled to Fort Rucker, Ala., Thursday. They were staged for potential search-and-rescue missions, ready to assist at a moment's notice. With the National Guard and the other government agencies in place, the Medevac crews were not needed and returned home.
Response time can mean the difference between life and death, and the Army excels at rehearsing for all kinds of emergencies.
Sgt. Josh Stewart, now a flight medic with Eagle Dustoff, responded to victims of natural disasters as an emergency medical technician with the Louisville, Ky., Fire Department before he joined the Army. He said combat rescue rehearsals are good preparation for natural disasters.
"Natural disaster rescue has some of the same chaos as combat (rescue), but the threat level is not as high," he said. Natural disaster rescue is more methodical in its approach to the scenario than combat rescue is. It's, for the lack of a better word, structured chaos, rather than utter chaos."
Brother Joe Carrico now a retired minister in Russellville, Ky., who has responded to many a disaster relief himself, also knows that post-disaster chaos and the importance of restoring order rapidly.
In 1976, he received a distress call from another minister in a nearby town. He said he needed quick and powerful assistance, so he made a call to Fort Campbell, and within six hours of his request, Soldiers of the 7th Bn., 101st Avn. Rgt., arrived with helicopters full of food, water, clothes and necessary medical supplies.
"They didn't fool around," Carrico said. "Their response was so swift, I just couldn't believe it. It was like they had everything in order before they left."
Carrico said that to the community, the speedy response meant as much as the 12 days the Soldiers dedicated to flying in provisions and getting townspeople to medical facilities when required.
"They didn't stop -- they just kept flying and flying," Carrico said.
Working alongside other agencies, the Soldiers of the 159th CAB -- both past and present -- serve unselfishly, knowing their countrymen rely on them as servants of the people.
"(Our job is) to help the public out, give them that ray of hope that may not be there, assist the local agencies that may be overwhelmed because of this natural disaster," said Staff Sgt. Mark Dickey, the air ambulance NCO for 1st Platoon, Co. C, 7th Bn., 101st Avn. Rgt.. "That's our job -- helping the public at their time of need."
Dickey is not alone in his dedication to selfless service.
"It is important for the Army to keep a pulse on community assistance when it is called upon," said Capt. Robert S. Lee, the 7th Bn., 101st Avn. Rgt. chaplain. "The American public (may) not see the Army as a relief effort responder, but … the Army is able to help assist with these efforts by the fact that it has capabilities and resources to provide support when it is needed to help the American public during times of crisis."
Whether it means supporting an offensive, defensive or humanitarian mission, Soldiers of the 159th CAB stand ready to deploy, defend and serve in a multitude of ways.