Army Maj. Donald Crider, a Seattle native assigned to the 126th Aviation Regiment, performs a pre-flight check on a UH-60 Black Hawk helicopter used for medical evacuation missions near Amarah, Iraq. Crider and soldiers of the 126th support the 1st Cavalry Division's 4th Brigade Combat Team. U.S. Army photo by Pfc. Terence Ewings, 4th Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division
| ||AMARAH, Iraq, Aug. 1, 2008 -- Six months ago, Army Maj. Donald Crider was teaching high school physics in Seattle. Today, he's assigned to the 1st Cavalry Division's 4th Brigade Combat Team, flying helicopters in southeastern Iraq. |
Crider was activated from the Inactive Ready Reserve to deploy with the 126th Aviation Regiment as a UH-60 Black Hawk helicopter pilot. He flies on medical evacuation missions.
“We are here for the soldiers [and] to make sure we can respond to any kind of medical help they would need,” Crider explained. He added that his transition from the classroom to the cockpit only intensified his motivation to help the soldiers here. “It's moving to know you are the difference between someone living and dying,” he said.
The Seattle native who helped students learn physics for five years now is helping soldiers feel secure on the Iraqi battlefield.