WTOC EDITORIAL SALUTE
FIRST AIR DATE: 1-23-2014
It seems that, too often,
we're only reminded of reality when tragedy strikes. Such is the case with our military members
who, in defense of our nation and freedom, operate high-powered combat equipment,
on land, sea, and in the air. Equipment designed
to transport war-fighters and destroy things.
A sophisticated, demanding undertaking, requiring great ability, and great
courage. The skill of our service
members makes it look effortless. It's
not. But that expertise, honed by constant
training, leads civilians to take it all for granted. Like we may come to assume that military casualties
only happen in combat. The reality is, such
can happen, as well, during the rigors of routine training, when operating military
hardware, anytime, under any conditions, is anything but routine.
Tragically, that reality hit home here last week, when, following a nighttime training mission, a 3/160th "Night Stalker" helicopter experienced a very hard landing at Hunter. So hard in fact, that two members of the three-man crew were severely injured, while the other member, Captain Clayton Carpenter perished in the accident. A gifted West Point graduate, Captain Carpenter was revered by his fellow Night Stalkers, for his exceptional work- ethic, his flying skill, his intelligence, his commitment to those with whom he soldiered, and his dedication to do whatever it took to ever-better serve his unit, and the needs of our nation. As with so many of his comrades-in-arms, simply an outstanding soldier. Our hope, and that of all, is that his two Night Stalker crew-members, badly-injured in this tragic event, will, in time, recover completely. And for Captain Clay Carpenter, resting, now, for eternity, within the presence and comfort of Almighty God, in sacred tribute, may we never allow his contributions and time here with us, to slip from our memories.