Veterans every day

By PHILIP EIL  |  November 6, 2013


NAME | Rebecca Taylor

AGE | 32

THE BASICS | US Army aeromedical evacuation pilot

•  Deployed in 2011 to Western Afghanistan

•  Currently works for a Warwick-based staffing agency helping service people transition off active duty and back into the workforce

HER WORDS | Unfortunately, I think a lot of media glorifies [war]. Especially with some of the video games, where it’s like, “Oh you die, you get up again.” And a lot of people, I think, don’t grasp the fact that you know, in reality, you get hurt, you’re hurt. You die? You die. You don’t get to hit “refresh” and keep going. If you don’t get it right it the first time, you don’t get to play the level again.

I flew over 200 hours and over 75 missions. In the medical world, you have what they call a “golden hour.” And they use it, civilian-side, for medical flights as well. Basically from the time somebody gets injured, you have an hour to get them to a higher level of care to really have the best chance of saving their life.

The biggest thing is, when you get that call, when that radio goes off, you don’t know what you’re going into. You have to get launch authority, you have to get permission to go, but situations can turn very quickly. You work with a lot of uncertainty. We’d go out to what we call POI’s — point of injuries — and you don’t know, “OK, what am I going to have for a place to put the helicopter down?” You learn, “OK, what area can I fit stuff in?. . . Where’s the wind coming from?” You have to deal with the dust. And you’re just trying to figure out, “OK, what’s the best way to make this happen?” Because, especially as medevac, you don’t want to get out there and then turn around. Because there’s people waiting for you, and you’re kind of their hope.

We got shot at. It’s part of it. If you spend all your time worrying about getting shot at, you’re not going to do your job. It’s just one of those things, where you go, “Yup, we got shot at.” You come home and you go, “OK, cool, there’s no bullet holes in the helicopter. We’re good!”

As long as it doesn’t hit you, well, keep going.


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