Honor a Veteran November 11, 2013

Monday, November 11 is Veteran’s day, thank a Veteran.

This morning I participated in the DAV5K sponsored by the Disabled American Veterans in Cincinnati Ohio. The 5K run was the first of its kind in Cincinnati Ohio put together by the DAV foundation.  I had a great time and enjoyed the run and the after race celebration at the Cove.  And I may have set an age appropriate personal best today!  I can only hope.

The mission statement of DAV is A Legacy of Service, Hope for the Future. DAV is the most long-lasting veterans advocacy and assistance group in this country. We’ve watched this country change and grow, and we’ve grown along with it. However, DAV has never wavered in its core mission to fulfill our country’s promises to the men and women who served. We invite everyone, veterans and civilian, men and women, young and old, to join us as we stand up for those veterans who risked it all when they stood up for us, our country, and our ideals.

All branches of the military were present and there were runners, walkers and the Honor course.  The Harley-Davidson Veteran Tribute riders happily lined the street cheering and offering a high-five to all of the participants as we made our way to the finish line.  It was a great event and I look forward to participating again next year!

Here are some of the pictures I took after completing the run.

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If you would like to make a donation to the DAV foundation or would like to learn more about all of the great things DAV does for our Veterans, just click on the DAV link.

And remember on Veterans day to honor the memory of those that have given the ultimate sacrifice and gives thanks to all that have or are currently serving.  Our Freedom is not Free

Next up – the ride of a lifetime

It was the summer of 1990, I was stationed at Camp Atterbury in Indiana participating in my two-week training requirement for the Army Reserve.    At work one evening I met the pilot of a UH-1H Huey helicopter that also was there for his training.  While we were talking, he mentioned that in the morning the crew would be flying to a nearby airport to fuel up and asked if any of us would like to go.  Now I have to admit I was a bit hesitant at first, but I agreed along with a couple of friends to be there in the morning.  It’ll be fun, right?

We left work that morning and walked over to the clearing where the Huey was parked and met with the crew and climbed aboard.  If you’re not familiar with this type of aircraft, the Huey was the work horse during the Vietnam war.  During the war, the aircraft equipped with 2.75 rockets, one on each side and .30 caliber machine guns.  The aircraft had been used as a gunship to escort Army and Marine transport helicopters.

I picked the seat in the back referred to as the gunner seat and tightened down the Army issue green canvas strap.  Sitting in this seat, with the door open, my boot tips hanging over the edge I felt both exhilarated and terrified!  The Huey we were now sitting in had actually flown missions during the Vietnam war and several bullet holes could be seen in the cabin.  I was riding in a piece of history, how awesome!  The lift off was smooth and uniquely different from taking off in an airplane and the sound from the propellers was deafening!  Now if you have ever ridden in a Huey or have seen any Vietnam war movies, you surely will know what I am speaking of when I say the sound of the rotating propellers are certainly not mistaken. (see video)

Once in the air, the pilots decided to test our metal, so to speak and began banking back and forth just above the treetops.  I was sitting in the rear on the right and each time we would bank to the right, I would rise out of my seat just a bit, wind blowing in my hair and look over my boots at the treetops.  OoohRah!  Cruising at a speed of 110 knots or about 126 mph, I was shaking with excitement!  For the pilots this was just another day at the office, but for me it was fantastic!  The pilots were able to get one of the guys that had come with us to use the on-board barf bag and both seemed to enjoy watching him in agony as they continued banking back and forth above the trees.  Mission accomplished! UH-1H Huey

This exhilarating ride continued for about 45 minutes and I could not have been happier!  When we landed the crew invited us back for another flight tomorrow.  Excellent!  We had to go back the next day for another rush, minus one from our group, but it is a bucket list memory that has not been forgotten!  If you ever get a chance to ride in a Huey, go for it, there is nothing like it!