As we prepared to deploy to Iraq, my brigade was inundated with information stressing the importance of proper hydration. None of us wanted to be a noncombat casualty and, thereby, a hindrance to our fellow Soldiers and the mission, so we all took the message to heart.
It is something we have all heard stories about — taking off and forgetting something on preflight or throughflight until someone remembers because of a procedure or something being said. Well, it finally happened to our crew.
We aviators sometimes allow set procedures and protocol to lead us down paths where we’d rather not go. One has to keep in the back of their mind that following an established procedure may not be prudent 100 percent of the time.
While in Afghanistan on my fourth deployment, I was stationed at Forward Operating Base Findlay-Shields, which was one of the safest locations I’d been over the past 10 years. The FOB was just across the street from Jalalabad, and nothing much happened there during my entire stay — except for that one day.
Back in flight school, they told us it would happen. They also said it would likely occur right away, before we had a chance to settle in to our new careers.