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Pilots "counselled" for making rescues

Katrina Pilots punished

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#1 Zwolf

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Posted 13 September 2005 - 10:12 AM

I understand the military's need to maintain order by strict adherence to rules, but I think these guys completed their assigned mission and then did something great by rescuing 110 people.  The fact that a trained pilot is now assigned to kennel duty for heroism is an injustice.  These guys should get medals for showing innitiative.  They claim they're not being punished, but, I dunno, looks a little suspicious to me.

http://www.military....9,76741,00.html

Quote

Florida Pilots 'Counseled' for Rescues
Associated Press  |  September 08, 2005
PENSACOLA, Fla. - Two Navy helicopter pilots were reminded of the importance of supply missions after delivering their cargo and then rescuing 110 hurricane victims in New Orleans instead of immediately returning to base, the military said Wednesday.

One of the pilots was temporarily assigned to a kennel but that was not punishment, said Patrick Nichols, a civilian public affairs officer at Pensacola Naval Air Station.

"They were not reprimanded," Nichols said. "They were counseled."

Lt. Matt Udkow and Lt. David Shand returned to the base from their mission on Aug. 30, a day after Hurricane Katrina made landfall, Nichols said.

Udkow and Shand met with Cmdr. Michael Holdener, who praised their actions but reminded them their orders were to fly water and other supplies to three destinations in Mississippi - the Stennis Space Center, Pascagoula and Gulfport - and then return to Pensacola.

"The Hollywood role of this thing is search and rescue," Nichols said. "Logistics was just as important. They realize that."

The two air crews picked up a Coast Guard radio call that helicopters were needed for rescues in New Orleans, said Lt. Jim Hoeft, another Navy spokesman. They were out of radio range to Pensacola, so they decided to fly their helicopters to New Orleans and join the rescue effort without permission.

It took only minutes for the H-3 helicopters to fly to New Orleans, where Udkow's crew plucked people off rooftops. Shand landed his helicopter on the roof of an apartment building where more than a dozen people had been stranded. When he returned to get more, two crew members entered the building and found two blind residents and led them to the helicopter.

Udkow later received permission to continue with the rescue missions when he landed to refuel in New Orleans.

Both helicopters returned to Pensacola, about 200 miles east of New Orleans, by dark, as required by flight rules. Nichols said no supplies went undelivered as a result of the rescues.

The pilots and Holdener were not available for interviews Wednesday, Nichols said. He said Udkow was flying and Shand was resting between missions.

"We all want to be the guys who rescue people," Holdener told The New York Times. "But they were told we have other missions we have to do right now and that is not the priority."

The air over New Orleans was so thick with helicopters a few days later that crews were having a hard time finding people who needed rescuing, but that was not the case when Udkow and Shand flew their rescue missions.

"I would be looking at a family of two on one roof and maybe a family of six on another roof, and I would have to make a decision who to rescue," Udkow told the Times. "It wasn't easy."

Nichols said Udkow was in no way being punished by being put in charge of a temporary kennel in Pensacola for pets of military personnel who had been evacuated from hurricane-stricken areas.

"It's a collateral duty," Nichols said. "These guys don't just fly. They do other stuff."

Cheers,

Zwolf
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#2 Nonny

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Posted 13 September 2005 - 10:23 AM

WTF?[/SIZE]

I'm on my way to my community Veterans Club board meeting, where I didn't have anything to report, till just now.  I haven't been getting my military.com newsletters, but I going to have to make a renewed effort to find out why my provider lets real spam through, but stops these newsletters, which I have signed up for, and calls them spam.  :angry:  

Okay, back to the topic.  FTS![/SIZE]

Yeah, cuz discipline roolz.  :suspect:  

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#3 Lord of the Sword

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Posted 13 September 2005 - 11:23 AM

Welcome to the wonderful world of politics.

I think Joe Scarbourough said it best on his show last night, when he ranted about how the relief agencies turned away help while people were suffering...because they weren't the ones who were helping them. They rather people suffer, as long as they are the ones in charge of helping them...They don't want local people to aide those suffering, because then those relief agencies won't get the credit for the rescue/aide

Apparently the military holds to the same belief system.

Makes me sick.
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#4 D'Monix

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Posted 13 September 2005 - 12:03 PM

fraggin stupid, they use the SH-3 for one of the things it was DESIGNED to do, and they make the pilot shovel dog poo for a week because of it.

i noticed one thing when the pres first visited mississippi before his first tour, when he got out of air force one, and went around marine one, there was a line of HH-3, the Jolly Green Giants themselves, parked on the tarmac.

I was going "well hell, get those monsters in the air, they were built for search and rescue operations."

#5 G1223

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Posted 13 September 2005 - 12:10 PM

Well the helicopter is not set up to hual passengers.What were the pilots and smaller flight crew going to do if there was a medical emergency. When the helicopter is hauling civilians they include a couple of more medics.

Here we have two guys who got lucky and no one died. What would the reaction be if they had taken off and few people died.
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#6 The Tyrant

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Posted 13 September 2005 - 12:17 PM

OK, who's right? D' is saying the 'copters were doing what they were designed to do, search and rescue, and G is saying they weren't meant to do that....

Color me confused... :blink:  :confused:

#7 Zwolf

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Posted 13 September 2005 - 12:22 PM

Quote

Here we have two guys who got lucky and no one died. What would the reaction be if they had taken off and few people died.

***** I'd say that's too bad if a couple of people died because there were no medics on board, but the other 108 might've been dead, too, if not for these guys saving 'em.   If you were stranded on the roof of a flooded house and these guys showed up, would you refuse to get on board because they didn't have a medic?  I doubt it.

I still say the only punishment I'd give these guys is make 'em wear medals for bravery.  That'd learn 'em!  "Here's a commendation, mister!  Now let that be a lesson to you!  Do anything like that again, and we may even make you eat cake or something!"  

Cheers,

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But I'm never talking to you again
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But I'm never talking to you again

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Trying to talk to you

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#8 Corwin

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Posted 13 September 2005 - 12:29 PM

Technically, the two pilots did violate the chain of command, even though they were responding to a distress call put out by the USCG.

Personally, I think they should be severely reprimanded.....  give them 2 weeks off with pay, and tickets to Disneyland for them and their families....  that'll teach them.

When they get back, give them the medals they deserve...

Corwin
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#9 Lord of the Sword

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Posted 13 September 2005 - 12:58 PM

G1223, on Sep 13 2005, 12:10 PM, said:

Well the helicopter is not set up to hual passengers.What were the pilots and smaller flight crew going to do if there was a medical emergency. When the helicopter is hauling civilians they include a couple of more medics.

You're right...they should've waited for FEMA to give the go ahead....GOD only knows those people would've had to wait til.....oh wait, they'd still be on their roofs now, wouldn't they? Only they'd probably be dead. Which is probably the way the republicans want them.

Quote

Here we have two guys who got lucky and no one died. What would the reaction be if they had taken off and few people died.

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>


What would be the difference if that happened? if we waited for the republican controlled government to get off their collective a$$es, they'd be dead anyway. At least this way they're alive.
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#10 Godeskian

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Posted 13 September 2005 - 01:28 PM

Corwin, on Sep 13 2005, 06:29 PM, said:

Personally, I think they should be severely reprimanded.....  give them 2 weeks off with pay, and tickets to Disneyland for them and their families....  that'll teach them.

When they get back, give them the medals they deserve...

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#11 CJ AEGIS

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Posted 13 September 2005 - 04:18 PM

It looks like they got a slap on the back and a stern talking to for breaking with orders.  These pilots did the right thing in the totally wrong way.  Ultimately the military is there to respect and follow the chain of command if their orders were to deliver an emergency supply then that was their mission.  The last thing we need is a military that doesn’t follow orders with parts of it doing their own thing.  So the military is right to give these two a talking two while congratulating them on their initiative.  

They should have applied that initiative differently.  What they should have done is get on the squawk box to the Bataan or other local naval vessel when they heard the distress call and couldn’t contact Pensacola.  That way they could have at least asked for orders or relayed their intent to respond to a distress call.  Ultimately the Navy never turns away from a distress call so if these guys had relayed their intent they would have been just fine.    

That all said I doubt they will have any marks on their careers and might have just added a unoffical point as rebels who get things done.
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#12 Nonny

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Posted 13 September 2005 - 05:46 PM

Did I ever tell you all about the stiff talking to I got for daring to volunteer to pull duty Christmas Day so one of the accompanied guys could stay home with his wife and kids?  No?  Amazing, what sends a wild hair up a brasshat's posterior.  

Anyway, I printed the article out and read parts of it to my veterans club board, and got some outrage, some apathy, and one die hard (former Marine, natch), but also an invite to join a VFW chapter that won't turn me down because I served in Okinawa instead of Viet Nam itself.  Go figure.  I bet I get more response from my group Friday.  Much younger crowd.  

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#13 Anastashia

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Posted 13 September 2005 - 06:15 PM

CJ's got the idea there. They could have told somebody onscene their intensions and had them relayed.

As an officer Nonny I certainly wouldn't have had a problem with your Christmas duty offer.
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#14 Nonny

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Posted 13 September 2005 - 06:56 PM

Anastashia, on Sep 13 2005, 03:15 PM, said:

As an officer Nonny I certainly wouldn't have had a problem with your Christmas duty offer.

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

Yeah, but you're a reasonable adult, Ani.  My commander was too busy panicking over the fact that he had a, gulp, female in his squadron.  :rolleyes:  Like avionics is the He-Man Wummin Haters or something.  :p  

Nonny
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The once and future Nonny

"Give a man a gun and he can rob a bank, give a man a bank and he can rob the world." Can anyone tell me who I am quoting?  I found this with no attribution.

Fatal miscarriages are forever.

Stupid is stupid, this I believe. And ignorance is the worst kind of stupid, since ignorance is a choice.  Suzanne Brockmann

All things must be examined, debated, investigated without exception and without regard for anyone's feelings. Diderot

#15 Julianus

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Posted 13 September 2005 - 09:15 PM

Sounds to me like they followed what I would call "procedure" pretty well. They picked up a distress call from Coast Guard helicopters, which, I would think, take precedent, were out of radio range of Pensacola, and did call in and received permission to continue when they had to stop for fuel.



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