Sunday, October 7, 2007
The First Army’s philosophy in training is “theater immersion”. When soldiers train, they are absorbed into an environment which is as close as possible to that which they will face in combat. There are even civilians brought in from the war theater to allow the soldiers to deal with realistically-scripted events.
Because it is all so real, injuries, bug-bites and other little annoyances can happen. One soldier was bitten by an unknown vermin in the early morning. Over several hours, the itch turned into swollen hands and forearms and it was obvious he had some type of allergic reaction.
Not wanting to take any chances, the instructors sent him to a local hospital to get checked out. We are out in the boondocks a bit, so a medevac helicopter was sent to pick him up.
As the Vietnam-era Huey approached the LZ, I’m sure you can imagine how this old Vietnam vet felt. Having ridden in God knows how many of these sturdy flying machines and having used medevac helicopters a lot, there was a bit of a flashback.
The picture at the top shows a Huey taking off from one of my platoon's landing zones in Vietnam in 1970.
The lower photo shows the medevac Huey that picked up our "bug-bitten" soldier at our current stateside training facility.
The swelling was not serious and the soldier returned to us a couple of hours later.
Time marches on, huh?
SFC Chuck Grist