I write this entry today with the knowledge that General Aviation has taken a beating in the press lately, mostly as a convenient whipping boy. There is no rational reason for it, other than an unexplained bias that seems to be inherent in our media. Although only indirectly related to GA, what follows deals with military aviation, and with what a well trained, organized, and coordinated group can do, in a short time, and under extremely trying circumstances. Some of you may know that I'm an Army veteran, having served almost 11 years in various command and staff roles as an Armor officer, both in the USA and Germany. My dad was a Green Beret for most of his 22 years of service, including two tours of duty in Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia. My little brother followed in my dad's footsteps, and just retired two years ago, as a Green Beret, at the rank of Lieutenant Colonel. He commanded a Green Beret battalion in Afghanistan...twice. Needless to say, my family has an intimate knowledge of what it takes to serve, and we still follow with great interest the activities of our military.
Today my brother sent a blog entry from one of the first people on the ground after Haiti's devastating earthquake. It outlines steps that were taken to get supplies into the airfield in Port-au-Prince, safely, effectively, and without any outside help. It also outlines the complications that can occur when people act thoughtlessly in chaotic situations.
Upon reading this account, I can appreciate the complexity of quickly getting the airfield up and running, and the sheer perseverance needed to get it organized and functioning properly. It took a team of selfless individuals to get it done, and I'm very proud of our servicemembers, and the job they do daily.
P.S.: You can read more about the relief mission in Haiti on this US Department of State blog.