How to save a life

7 Nov

Over this past weekend I was able to reunite with my brother (who will be traveling for the next three years in pilot school with the air force) for the first time since his departure to flight school.  It was for a very special reason that we were able to get together and allowed our family to come together and celebrate the courage my brother has shown in his time overseas with the military.  While he was overseas, as the flight engineer on the Pave Hawk Helicopters, he had a death defying encounter.  He was coming back to the area to receive the Distinguished Flying Cross Award.  Here’s part of the story the Mercury News ran:

Lt. Col. Rhys W. Hunt, 2nd Lt. Andrew S. Hedin and Chief Master Sgt. Jason E. Red were sent to rescue five critically wounded U.S. Navy SEALs from the middle of a battle in Kandahar. Their team of helicopters came under heavy fire, including from rocket-propelled grenades, one of which exploded so close it rocked their ship. With Hunt at the controls, they returned fire. Red leaned out of the craft to keep his eye on their foes. Hedin sprayed additional gunfire that knocked out the enemy gunners. They were credited with saving the lives of 16 people as well as two helicopters.”

This was just one of the 4 or 5 stories told while giving recognition to these brave soldiers that are fighting overseas for us.  It’s something that I couldn’t be prouder of my brother for and it really puts in perspective how things are for soldiers in high intensity areas overseas.

Here are some of my photos from this extraordinary ceremony:

Driving in we saw the huge C-130’s practicing right overhead.

The ceremony was held in a large open hanger at Moffet Field.

This was the first time I’d seen my brother since he left for school and he looks so great in his officer’s uniform.

He had a lot of support there on Saturday including: Liz and her entire family, my mom and stepdad, my dad and stepmom, and of course Ian and I!  In the background is the helicopter my brother was on when he was engaged in the fire fight overseas.

Being introduced.

The flags.

My brother and the three others on his flight stood at attention while the commander explained why they were receiving this prestigious award.

In total, 11 people received this award on Saturday which was the highest number since WWII.  We are lucky to have these people in the military.

My brother accepting his award.

The oldest (still living) recipient of the Distinguished Flying Cross Award then presented a plaque to the base so they would have history of this amazing feat.

They had all of the active Air Force members come down and support the award ceremony.

I’m so thankful for these people.

After the ceremony, we finally got to talk and hang out with my brother.  Here’s my mom and brother.

My brother and his new wife, Liz 🙂

Molly, Liz’s sister, in the helicopter.  They allowed us to go inside and all around the helicopter after the ceremony.

My brother basically lived in this tiny seat while overseas.

It’s a massive machine.

Here’s our dad.  He loves history and now that his son is such a big part of it, I can only imagine how he was feeling this day.

details of the helicopter.

My dad and Liz’s dad, Joe dangling their feet.

My brother with his helicopter.

The award.

Outside of the hanger.

The weather was so dark but beautiful.  It was kind of symbolic of the day.

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12 Responses to “How to save a life”

  1. artistrybyadele November 7, 2011 at 9:15 am #

    Amazing. Congrats to your big bro!

  2. Frida Waara November 7, 2011 at 10:27 am #

    Britt, I’ve not met Andy, but I just read your post with tears.
    How grateful I am to know of such a brave and accomplished soldier. I can’t wait to meet him and share my appreciation in person.
    The pride of your family is flowing over to those who know you and your dedication to doing the very best. What a treasured moment in your family history. I know your Mom and Dad’s hearts are as big as Nebraska.
    Don’t ever let go of those goose pimples.

    • justalittlebrit November 7, 2011 at 10:35 am #

      Frida, it was incredible… It was something I know you would have enjoyed to see. It fell on your birthday, too. We were thinking about you on this day as well! I can’t wait for you to meet my brother, you guys will LOVE each other!! I always tell him this 🙂

  3. lifevesting November 7, 2011 at 11:44 am #

    What an amazing story! You must be soooo proud!

  4. Rory Alexander November 7, 2011 at 12:17 pm #

    An incredible and wonderful post. Thanks for sharing.

  5. freebirdmani November 7, 2011 at 12:23 pm #

    Nice to see your big bro doing bravery stuff !! I think its a challenge to put life on the line of duty and save the world.

    Nice pics too.

    M.

  6. Julie Ann November 7, 2011 at 1:23 pm #

    Great entry and pics!

  7. Cinthya November 7, 2011 at 2:08 pm #

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  8. Donna-Lee November 10, 2011 at 1:05 pm #

    What a fantastic post and your photographs are wonderful. Thank you for sharing such a special day with us; such an awesome family 🙂 DL

  9. Travel Spirit November 27, 2011 at 11:27 am #

    I loved this post…your brother is amazing and the photos are great!

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. Travel Thursdays – Connecticut « Just a little Brit - March 1, 2012

    […] On our drive to the sea side, we passed the largest manufacturer of military helicopters!  Couldn’t help but think of my brother. […]

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