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Remember great work by our U.S.military everyday

Much has been written and spoken about the EMS unit and DNR helicopter crew rescuing a young man injured in a fall while hiking.

My intention is not in anyway to detract from their great work, but only to remind others of the work our military is doing.

What we all saw on TV or saw in the printed media, as dramatic as it was, does not hold a candle to what our young men and women do everyday in the armed forces of this country.

Everyday our military medics and helicopter crews are doing the same work with the added stress of being shot while completing their task.

These young people know the risk, are scared yet perform bravely not for Mom, apple pie or the flag but because they consider that other person a brother or sister. They fight at that point for each other; they are over-worked,under-paid and surely don’t get the respect they deserve.

Think grenades, artillery exploding, machine gun bullets sounding like a swarm of angry bees all around you ... suddenly your legs don’t work, there is blood everywhere, you call out, “Medic, Corpsman,” and he jumps up and runs right through all this toward you because you need him.

After taking care of immediate medical needs he calls for a Med Evac/Dustoff helicopter. The Evac helicopter arrives lands or hovers and lowers the basket to get you out, all the time the same enemy is still shooting now at the helicopter.

The crew chief is hanging out the door guiding the basket, the pilots are just sitting there at a hover holding this machine perfectly still in the middle of hell on earth.

Our young men and women are doing this everyday. As I said they are over-worked, under-paid and certainly don’t get the RESPECT they deserve.

Edward C. Ragan, II

Peachtree City, Ga.



Mike King's picture

Seldom has our military received the recognition deserved in my lifetime, but as you and I realize, we have come a long way towards that end since the conflict of our day. Perhaps the realization that it's the sons and daughters of our generation that compel us to shake the hands of returning soldiers at airports, or perhaps it's the genuine concern for those whose lives are altered permanently because we witnessed a lackadaisical public some forty years earlier.
I confess that I truly don't know the answer, but as long as I hear or read words from true heroes such as yourself giving credit to those for which none was asked, I continue to feel the pride that I possess for our country.

tgarlock's picture

. . . Ed "Skip" Ragan has an interesting background of his own military service.

His first tour in Vietnam he was a Huey helicopter pilot, but not just any pilot. Skip flew special ops LRRP, Green Beret, SOG (secret stuff) and FOB missions. FOB means forward operating base, where small teams of good guys were in hiding, radioing back intel on the enemy, and if compromised their life expectancy could be measured in minutes.

The special ops teams he inserted and extracted went to high-risk places, where the danger was elevated and the prospect of rescue if shot down was limited.

To fly for these high-risk missions one had not only to volunteer, they had to prove themselves and be accepted by the special ops teams they carried, teams who had to count on pilot expertise and courage when the lead was flying and they were desperate to be picked up. All the guys involved on these missions gave an extra measure of service to our country, the pilots, the crew chief and gunner, and the extraordinary young men on those special ops teams who did unbelievable things and called it their "job."

Skip was scheduled to fly one last FOB mission just before he went home, but his buddy returned from R&R and took his place so he could leave. On that mission Skip's crew and his buddy all died, and Skip carried unreasonable guilt for a long time.

On his 2nd Vietnam tour he flew cobra attack helicopters like I did, in the same unit.

Pay careful attention to Skip's words, they should carry considerable weight. Mike King and I give Skip grief often and will continue to do so, but we are both proud to call him our friend.

Terry Garlock

Terry Garlock, PTC

come home. They and the family they leave behind when they go deserve much more than they get from us as individuals and our government. These are the true heroes, not the ones who get the touchdowns, not the ones who are screen idols but these everyday men and women who put themselves into harm's way continuously for little pay and/or recognition. Thank you for reminding us.

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