The Panama mission is in the books, now. Our three helicopters were delivered via Antonov yesterday, and the last of our soldiers arrived back this afternoon. All in all an interesting time. We'll be spending the next couple weeks going over the helicopters with a fine tooth comb to catch any corrosion. We expect that to be an ongoing process for the foreseeable future.
It can be forgiven if the image that first comes to mind at the words "military mission" involve weapons, body armor, and troops moving to contact. After all, for the last decade we've been involved in shooting wars in several countries. There is another kind of mission that has been getting less press, but is important none the less, that being the humanitarian mission. The National Guard unit I belong to along with other Guard, Reserve and active duty Army and Air Force have spent the last several months in Panama providing medical aid and engineering support in the form of building schools and clinics for the Panamanian people as a part of Operation Beyond the Horizon. Being a Blackhawk unit our support has been peripheral to main mission, consisting of standing by in case a medical emergency required evacuation to one of the hospitals available. We also moved medical supplies and people around the country side and did a little training along the way.
To close out our rotation at Panama, we had a unit cook out at the flight line. Here out commanding officer fries up some fresh alligator. Also on the menu were fresh caught lobster and hot dogs for the sea food adverse.