Thursday, June 19, 2008

Lance Keeps Going and Going and Going

They should call this guy the "Energizer Aviator"...he's more than given his share.

Career soldier answers call of duty
Posted on: Tuesday, June 17, 2008, 11:54 PM
By Bill Begley
Killeen Daily Herald

WEST FORT HOOD - Deployments are nothing new for Chief Warrant Officer-5
Lance McElhiney.

He's been going through them for nearly 40 years.

"The kids change," McElhiney said Tuesday while waiting to head to Iraq with
more than 250 4th Infantry Division Combat Aviation Brigade soldiers. "The
faces change. They get younger." With reason.

McElhiney, the senior instructor pilot at Fort Hood, also is the senior
chief warrant officer-5 in the Army.

His first deployment came in 1970, when he went to Southeast Asia with the
101st Airborne Division as a gunner and co-pilot on the first attack
helicopter in the world - the AH-1G Cobra - during the Vietnam War.

It was the first taste of combat for a career soldier who also took part in
the invasion of Laos - a campaign that saw him shot down three times in a
span of three days, earn a Purple Heart while providing close air support
for ground troops and later earn the Distinguished Flying Cross for
assisting in the rescue of Special Forces troops.

After that came action in Operation Desert Shield and Desert Storm, when he
volunteered to deploy with the 2-229th Flying Tigers, and action during
Operation Iraqi Freedom I and II.

At 60, he is the Army's senior Longbow pilot, and will replace his son,
David Lynn, as the standardization instructor pilot in Iraq.

"There is no way I could train these guys how to fly using tactics that I
learned in Vietnam and not go out and show them how to do it," he said. "I
am not built that way."

That's why, more than 30 years after first seeing combat in Vietnam,
McElhiney found himself back in the mix again, flying in fierce combat
during the Army's rugged push through the Karbala Gap before taking Baghdad
in April 2003...

...The only Army pilot honored last month at the "Gathering of Eagles," an
annual aviation event hosted by the Air Command and Staff College at Maxwell
Air Force Base in Alabama, McElhiney has been there - repeatedly - and said
the value of experience is something that cannot be measured.

To read the whole thing go HERE.

Anyone who's been around FT Hood and been involved in Army Aviation knows Lance, he's the real deal that keeps on giving.

H/T Chris...break time's over back on your head!

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