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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.

I now understand the Hype of Fleet Week

10 Oct

This was the first time I’ve been to the San Francisco Fleet Week air show since I was a little kid.  My parents tell me that they used to take us when we were little and I believe it but I must have been so tiny I have no recollection.  Since my brother is a pilot in the air force, I have such a new appreciation for aviation and like to show any support I can.   Here are some interesting photos from my day in the city watching the planes with Ian.

The advertising is in the sky now!  It was so interesting to watch the letters spell themselves out.  I would LOVE to know how this is done.  I’ve seen it before but it’s just amazing to see in person.

We first climbed up to Coit Tower to get a 360 degree view.  However, they hadn’t trimmed the hedges so it wasn’t as easy to see as I’d thought.

Some of the views as we were hiking up.

The few of many sailboats out on the bay.

Treasure Island.

Flying formation!

Look at all of those sailboats.  It must have been amazing to watch out there on the bay.

A United Airplane doing super low flyovers.

We saw this fighter jet break the speed of sound.  It was beyond unbelievable…

One of the smaller planes bomb diving by the Golden Gate Bridge.

You can tell how close it got to the water by the smoke!

Bay Bridge.

People everywhere spectating.

Plane over Pier 39.

Pier 39!

The seals could careless that their air space was being completely dominated by huge flying machines.

Ahh and at last… the Blue Angels!

Skimming Alcatraz.

Getting close to the sail boats.

Truly remarkable.

How they get so close is beyond me!

I think it’s definitely worth seeing and if nothing else just go and support your troops.  They have done more than you will ever know for us.