Day of the Black Hawks at Cape Girardeau Regional Airport

Day of the Black Hawks

On a sunny Sunday this past June, the Cape Girardeau Regional Airport served as refueling stop for 10 Black Hawk Helicopters (2 flights of 5), crewed by members of the New York and Missouri National Guard. They were taking part in a joint training mission before their deployment to Iraq. I didn't get a complete count, but was told that the second flight of 5 Black Hawks was crewed by about 22 men and women, so it probably came out to about 40 something or so, total.

By a strange, cosmic coincidence, we just happened to have a grill cranked up to full power, with hot dogs, hamburgers, and lots of accessories covering the tables in our flight planning office.

Grill Expert Vickie Winchester, Condiments & Fuel Ticket Princess Jamie Freeman, along with volunteer General Manager Jean Freeman did their best to insure our soldiers (who probably had to re-calculate their weight & balance numbers after the feed!) were well cared for, along with local pilots and friends who also joined in the fun.

Lineman Mark Perry and I got the Black Hawks topped and turned, and also snapped a few photos while we were in among the dark helicopters. I HIGHLY regret that we didn't get more photos of the crew and the actual chow-down, but the momentum of the day caused us to miss out this time. In what seemed like just a couple of minutes, the crews were again on their way...the noise and excitement of jet whine and spinning rotor blades turned to a distant and fading formation.

The following letter to the editor of the Southeast Missourian (forwarded to me by Jamie) sheds a little light on the Soldiers' Units, and the purpose of their mission.

More honored and deserving people have never rolled their wheels on our concrete. These men and women, and those of their kind, are the ones who insure us the right to pursue our dreams. Their service and sacrifice is the base from which everything else in our country is built. Take a moment to look at the photos of their visit, and imagine the family roots that spread out from each one of these Volunteer Protectors of our Nation...the friends and family that worry about them, and wait for them...and consider that we actually had the prayers and spirits of thousands walk our ramp that day.