Air Guard crew flies mission to save Soldier’s life

BALAD AIR BASE, Iraq (AFNEWS) — They flew at night and into the next day from Iraq nonstop to the United States. Fifteen hours and 10 time zones later, they handed over their precious cargo in Maryland: a Soldier who had been wounded in combat.

Then, to the hum of jet engines, they packed their gear and returned to fly similar missions again and again.

Members of the Air National Guard flew directly from Balad Air Base, Iraq, to Andrews Air Force Base, Md., Feb. 7 to transport a critically injured Soldier to stateside medical personnel in an effort to save his life.

The Soldier had sustained life-threatening injuries from an improvised explosive device. His best chances for survival were in the hands of neurologists thousands of miles away.

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Small Town Comforts Wounded Soldiers

By Staff Sgt. Mike R. Smith, Guard Times Staff

ALPLAUS, N.Y. —Take a small-town firehouse, add colored thread and fabric, pour in various amounts of love and caring, mix thoroughly with a strong sense of community and country and you have what might be the warmest recipe to comfort wounded Soldiers.

To recognize New York’s wounded Soldiers, the Ladies Auxiliary of the Alplaus Fire Company, Alplaus, crafted 26 lap-size quilts for the New York Army National Guard.

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New York’s joint forces honor tremendous service, sacrifice of 11 Guardsmen

By Staff Sgt. Mike R. Smith, Guard Times Staff

LATHAM, N.Y. – It was a mournful gathering.

At the podium, New York Army National Guard Command Sgt. Maj. Robert Van Pelt spoke the name of each Soldier three times consecutively, a brass Navy bell clanged, and a white candle was lit upon the final echo of each. When all names were read, 11 flames were aglow — illuminating the memory of those who made the ultimate sacrifice in Iraq.

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