Major MJ Hegar is a heroine. She saved not one but three helicopter crews in Afghanistan, as well as multiple US ground troops, and she did so all while being abandoned in combat by her cowardly peers and held back from her true potential by The Man.
At least, that seems to be how her story is being told.
US Air Force Major Mary Jennings Hegar was a US Air Force HH-60 helicopter rescue pilot in Afghanistan in 2009. (The Air Force rescue helos are know as Pedros — and, yes, they use a sombrero wearing mascot that would probably offend someone if they thought about it long enough.)
On July 29, 2009, her mission as the lead Pedro 15 went infamously sour. Hegar received a medal — and a Purple Heart — on that mission, and she now uses the story of that mission on the speaking circuit while she advertises her upcoming book — the movie rights for which have already been optioned (Angelina Jolie is rumored Read more
Former US Army Captain Jason Torpy, currently leading the one-man Military Association of Atheists and Freethinkers, recently attempted to evaluate the decision by Private Bradley Manning to call himself a “humanist.”
In an article at the American Humanist Association, for which Torpy is the Treasurer, he writes “Is Bradley Manning Really a Humanist?”
[Manning lawyer] David Coombs…made a show that Manning had ID tags with “humanist” written on them…Coombs argued, “that his actions came from his deeply held beliefs that all lives had value, Iraqi and American.” Because the defense is leaning on Manning’s humanist beliefs, this trial also calls for humanist attention as well.
Torpy apparently thinks the humanist community needs to think Read more
The much-ballyhooed K-MAX unmanned helicopter, which has been making deliveries for the US Marines in Afghanistan, apparently suffered a crash a few weeks ago.
The original story contained this line:
While Marine officials did not release a cause for the crash, [PA officer Capt. Matthew Beers] ruled out pilot error, saying the aircraft was in autonomous mode at the time it went down.
The reports were ultimately edited to remove Read more
Heavy contract training pilots — that’s heavy as in how much they weigh, not what they’re flying — for a US Army helicopter course have filed a lawsuit as a result of the Army’s attempt to limit their weight to 250 pounds:
Aside from the union, the suit was filed by six flight instructors whose weight ranges from 252 to 272 pounds, including their Read more
An official Army article about a helicopter downed in Afghanistan covers the work of the crew to survive as their chopper falls. In retelling the story, the article contains this tidbit about the immediate aftermath of the crash in hostile territory:
Before [Chief Warrant Officer 2 Mike] McGann grabbed his weapon, he’d made sure he had one other “sensitive item” — a stuffed dragon that his 4-year-old daughter, Hope, had sent him.
“It flies with me all the time; it usually sits right on the console,” McGann said. “Before I grabbed my weapon, and before I did anything else, I grabbed (the dragon) and stuffed it under my armor.”
Apparently, some Army pilots are softies.
Nice work, Dad. That’s enough to make every father proud.
A local paper (repeated at the Stars and Stripes) carries the story of Vietnam veteran and former Marine Capt Boyd “Bo” Barclay, a helicopter pilot brought down by small arms fire on 8 June 1967:
“The next burst came through the cockpit and hit me in the hand, blew my hand up and I didn’t see any hand there,” he recalled. “And I said, ‘I’m hit!’”
He reached over to grab a pressure point and the next thing he heard the pilot say is, “I’m dead. I’m dead.” He turned and looked at the pilot who was hanging in his straps…
Barclay and two of his crewmembers survived, and Barclay credits God Read more
Lt Lance Leone, a Coast Guard helicopter pilot who was the sole survivor of a crash and then endured an attempt to charge him with homicide, has reportedly received a career-ending performance evaluation.
The Coast Guard commander for Alaska is recommending Read more
Consistent with the recommendation in January, the Coast Guard has dropped charges against Lt Lance Leone, the co-pilot and sole survivor of a Washington helicopter crash in July 2010.
Leone was charged with negligent homicide, dereliction of duty and destruction of government property stemming from Read more