BAGHDAD -- Two Black Hawk helicopter crews from the Michigan National Guard got a chance to meet Sen. Carl Levin, a congressman from their home state, when he and two other congressmen rode in their aircraft during a visit to Iraq, Jan. 19.

Soldiers from the Michigan National Guard's B Company, 1st Assault Helicopter Battalion, 147th Aviation Regiment flew Levin to Baghdad International Airport, where they had a few moments to speak with the senator before he continued on another leg of his trip.

For the crews, it was a chance "to fly and meet a really great supporter," said Capt. Kathryn Prater, a Black Hawk pilot and commander of B Company.

"It's great to see him travelling here, and to get to show one of our strongest supporters some Michigan National Guard helicopters in action," said Prater.

Levin is the Chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee and a strong advocate on behalf of service members. While it is the first time Prater's crews have met him personally, they have seen him at several ceremonies, said Prater.

Meeting the senator was surreal, said Staff Sgt. David Argo, a Black Hawk crew member.

"I'm just an average crew chief," said Argo. "To get to meet somebody like that, shake their hand and fly them around, it makes you feel like you do a good job."

The senators' visit was intended give them "a firsthand look at security and political developments in the region and their impact on America's national security," according to one senator's press release.