Welcome Home, Mountain DUSTOFF
Braving the “arctic vortex” our Executive Director, Dan Gower, was finally able to complete his mission of visiting and welcoming home C/3-10 Mountain DUSTOFF in the “frozen tundra” of Fort Drum, NY. Thwarted on three previous trips due to circumstances beyond our control, this trip was one of great joy to welcome home the great DUSTOFF Warriors of Mountain DUSTOFF. At the welcome home party thrown by their company commander, MAJ Chris Logan, Dan was able to honor the FRG Leaders (Three of the five were in attendance), two “Difference Makers” and to shake every hand with a DUSTOFF Association Coin. CW2 Chad Carvalho and SGT Joshua George were given Mike Novosel Hall of Fame Coins for their excellent work that enabled the deployment to be successful. Dan was also able to meet CW2 John Botto who penned a very nice “blog” entitled Medevac Cavemen based upon his initial tour in a DUSTOFF unit. John has other deployment experience but this was his first as a DUSTOFFer. It was a fun evening at Maggie’s on the River in Watertown, NY. Welcome Home, Mountain DUSTOFF. [See their homecoming video and lots more.]
Fall/Winter 2013 DUSTOFFer
The latest edition of the acclaimed DUSTOFFer Newsletter is available for you to download and read at your leisure on your mobile device or send to your printer so you may read it while sitting on the "throne."
As always, Suzie Gower and Jim Truscott have turned out a great issue with informative articles and terrific human interest stories from past conflicts and about present crewmembers saving lives around the world. Come to the next reunion and give them the proverbial pat on the back for all their hard work.
Ben Knisely Visits C/2-3GSAB
Ben Knisely was invited back to his former unit by its current commander, MAJ Jason Jones, to share a piece of history. As a lieutenant in Viet Nam, Ben Knisely flew with the 498th Air Ambulance Company that was later reflagged C/2-3 General Support Aviation Battalion.
Knisely’s air ambulance was shot down by an RPG while performing a hoist mission in the A Shau valley. After being dragged to safety by his co-pilot, the two evaded capture for three days, without food or water, as the enemy was nearby on the Ho Chi Minh Trail.
Knisely told his combat story apologizing ahead of time for getting emotional. He said it was the first time telling the story to a group, since most of the time he only explained it to family members. His composure was impressive during the recollection of events, even telling the occasional joke for levity.
“We had decided between the two of us that if we heard anybody in a rescue mode that we would wait until we look them in the eye to make sure they were Americans. That was our plan,” said Knisely, when discussing the rescue plan with his co-pilot. Knisely later jokes about himself and his co-pilot jumping up and waving their arms at the sound of an approaching voice saying, “hey DUSTOFF.” He said that contrary to what they agreed was the plan, both of them just yelled for help, joked Knisely.
FLATIRON Air Ambulance/Crash-Rescue Reunion
ALL former or current: pilots, firefighters, medics, crash guards and
maintenance personnel. The 2nd Bi-Annual FLATIRON reunion will be held 25-27
April 2014 at Ft. Rucker, AL.
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