• Today's Daily Devotion
Flying To Meet the Needs of Others
I flew over 190 combat hours during my deployment to Iraq. Besides the fact that flying is the fun part about being a flight surgeon, it is a requirement of the job. The ...

Flying to Meet the Needs of Others

Brig. General (ret) Paul Casinelli, MD

I flew over 190 combat hours during my deployment to Iraq. Besides the fact that flying is the fun part about being a flight surgeon, it is a requirement of the job. The physicals and sick call fill most days, but flying it’s what you love to do. It was exhilarating. Flying fifty feet above ground at 140 knots with the doors open was an experience of a lifetime and one very few people have the privilege of experiencing.

I did not, however, fly in combat for the fun. Being the flight surgeon I was one of the sets of the eyes and ears of the commander. My job is to see, feel, and report on the stress experienced by the crews. The only way that I can know that is to be familiar with the stresses they experiencing by flying with them. I have to be on the internal communications system (ICS) so I can hear them communicate. There are also duties associated with flying as crew. I am an extra set of eyes looking for the enemy. I am an integral part of the crew when I fly.

After a while when they get used to me being on the flight, they start talking to each other about certain things, but I understand they are not just talking about things to one another. They are communicating things to me because they know I’m listening. They might say the flying schedule is too grueling. Things they would not come to me and say. But they will know I’m listening. The chow hall doesn’t have a midnight ration. The way the flights are scheduled and the challenge scheduled we just missed supper. I can bring those things right to the commander. And that’s something he can do something about.

My friends would ask why I flew so much. I didn’t fly because it was fun. I flew because it was a part of my duty. War does not have workweeks and weekends. We push soldiers to the limit. We have to make sure that they are not driven to go too far. Taking care of our soldiers is a part of waging war. It is a part of good leadership.

Prayer:

Dear God, please help me to listen to others, discern their needs, identify how certain needs can be met, and then take decisive action to help meet those needs.


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