On this date in 2013, I was upgraded to tan no-slip socks. I didn’t have to wear the yellow ones anymore — I was no longer considered a “fall risk” when shuffling about with my walker.
I’m not sure what caused that scuff on my right shin during my incident about 4 weeks prior. What isn’t shown in the picture is the scuff just above my right knee that the projectile left behind after it passed through my left thigh.
October 6, 2013
I was back in the USA on September 13th. It had been nearly a week since my incident on that rocky pinnacle near Shindand, Afghanistan. My brother Matthew and former-commander Brendan Taylor met me at Andrews Air Force Base in Maryland. Matthew was able to snap a picture of the C-17 that brought me back, and as the medical personnel wheeled me to my room. Ever heard of a dry-shampoo cap? Neither had I, but it seemed to do the trick.
The next morning, September 14th, I was transported to Dwight D. Eisenhower Army Medical Center in Augusta, Georgia. There, Lori and my brother Reed joined me in the emergency room as I was being admitted to the hospital. I would be there for another 33 days, and have nine visits to the operating room (in addition to the three I’d already had). There was still a lot of work for the medical teams to do before I could begin my work of getting mobile again.
September 14, 2013
I’m pleased to announce that The Village Booksmith, south-central Wisconsin’s premier source for quality used books, including rare, out-of-print, and hard-to-find titles, is now carrying “Pamir 62: Heroes are Forever” on its shelves.
If you’re in Downtown Baraboo, I hope you’ll stop by and pick up a copy for yourself, and maybe one for a friend (it makes a great gift).
On this date in 2014, I had the bittersweet honor of being able to fly the OH-58D Kiowa Warrior one more time before they flew away from Fort Rucker for the final time.
By this time in 2014, my 2015 retirement was on the horizon, and my friend Randy Morris (current DAC and retired CW5) was able to finagle me not only a final flight, but we got some .50 cal and rockets to shoot too.
It was a beautiful day to fly, and an absolute hoot to be able to go out with Randy and fire off some Freedom at the Molinelli Aerial Gunnery Range Complex one more time.
Pictured below is the obligatory in-cockpit selfie with me and Randy before we took off. Additionally, there is a picture of the previous time Randy and I had flown together in an armed Kiowa Warrior – August 2008 in and around Mosul, Iraq. Randy was the Squadron SP of the outgoing squadron and I was the Squadron SP of the incoming Squadron.
Also pictured is a silly family portrait in front of my trusty Kiowa Warrior; one last time.
August 28, 2014
On this date in 2013, I saw an opportunity to have a brief respite from the Afghanistan summer heat when the fixed-wing guys’ solo dunk tank was freshly rinsed out and filled by the air base’s fire department.
I hustled back to my tent to put on my Army PT shorts for a quick dip in the pool and chill for a few moments with a 0% alcohol near-beer.
I also swam nearly 100 laps and wasn’t even out of breath.
Honestly, I pretty much only stayed in there long enough to take the picture.
July 16, 2013
Breaking from Pamir 62 tradition, I have an anniversary from #TenYearsAgo to share.
On this date in 2009, I returned from a 12-month deployment to Operation Iraqi Freedom. Family members were gathered in a large building at Fort Wainwright, Alaska to welcome our formation home. What a goose-bumps moment; hearing the band play a booming patriotic melody as our formation marched in the and the garrison commander announced “Ladies and Gentleman, your heroes have arrived home!”
I am immensely proud of the soldiers of 6th Squadron 17th US Cavalry and all we accomplished while we were deployed. I am lucky to have served with such a wonderful group of Great Americans.
As happy as we all were to return home to the midnight sun in Alaska, our hearts were heavy because we came home without two among our ranks. Not a day goes by that I don’t think of our friends Don and Chris.
July 12, 2009
On this date in 2014, Lori & I participated in the Boll Weevil 100. It is an annual bike ride event that raises money and awareness for Wounded Veterans.
I was very proud to be able to participate, thankfully the course was very flat. Due to my misunderstanding of how the course was marked, we rode too far before we turned around, so the 7-mile loop turned out to be a 9-mile loop.
Here are couple of links to articles published at the time of the event:
May 10, 2014
It had been nearly eight months (234 days) since the “recent unpleasantness” near Shindand on September 7, 2013. A few days prior I had been cleared (medically) to fly again. Now it was time to put my wings to use and start earning my keep at work.
CW3 Brian Spotts was the Flatiron UH-72A flight instructor I flew with, and I was damn proud to have TSgt Matty Garcia with us. Lieutenant Colonel Terry Griffith had recently returned home from Afghanistan and was able to come by to make sure I returned this aircraft in the same condition as when I took off.
Lori and the girls came by in time to see me land.
I had missed my “flying again by Easter” prediction by just 9 days.
I never could have done it without all the amazing support in the months since being wounded.
April 29, 2014
Five Years Ago, I received my updated DA Form 4186, Medical Recommendation for Flying Duty; commonly referred to as an “upslip”. It was APPROVED!
I was back on flying status!
It had been nearly 8 months (230 days) since I was wounded on that pinnacle in Afghanistan, but now I had my wings back!
I was scheduled for my first flight on Tuesday, April 29, 2014. It was time to get back to work.
April 25, 2019
On 5 April, 2014, Lori and I were honored to be invited to Savannah, Georgia to attend the two-tiered celebration of 1-214th Field Artillery Battalion; this formal event was their re-deployment ball upon their return from Afghanistan, and the Saint Barbara’s Day Ball.
The Task Force commander, Lieutenant Colonel David Casey, was in the Base Defense Operations Center (BDOC) when the call came from the ATC tower that there was a “fallen angel” – an operational term for downed aviator. When a location was obtained, it turned out that I was technically just a little bit in the Italian contingent’s sector. He told me later via email: “Our thought process was simple, an American pilot down deserved an American recovery, regardless of Battle Space Owner or enemy situation.”
Those guys must have set a land-speed record for an MRAP getting to me.
In the pictures below: (1) Lori and me striking a pose at our dinner table (2) Lori and me with some of my heroes from 3rd platoon, Charlie Battery, 1-214th Field Artillery, Georgia National Guard. (3) LTC Casey and me. (Fancy Cane not pictured, and the photographer seems to have cut Lori’s Fancy Shoes out)