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In late August, Michael Sorjonen, his wife, their cat and two dogs fled their home in Slidell, La. ahead of Hurricane Katrina. However, Staff Sgt. Sorjonen is an 18-year veteran of active duty and the Louisiana Air National Guard, and was back in the area 3 days later:
But as the Black Hawk helicopter approached the flooded hotel in the New Orleans East area on Sept. 2, he was stunned by what he saw on its balcony.At the time he had no idea if his home had survived the storm.
"For a minute, we sort of looked at each other and didn't say anything," Sergeant Sorjonen said. "It was something - something you wouldn't expect to see here. Something you wouldn't want to see here."
Hundreds of people were crowded onto the balcony, with barely an inch to spare. Some were weeping, some waving hotel towels. Others were on the verge of passing out from the heat and days of privation.
Even having his helicopter fired upon in Iraq paled in comparison, Sergeant Sorjonen said.
''You gotta do what you gotta do,'' Andrew Benkert said in a telephone interview. ``After 12 years, I've been to 22 countries, and I know we go where we're needed.''His family has also been uprooted by the storm - his wife is staying with her parents after evacuating their Mississippi home.
''A lot of things in life we don't understand. We just have to go with our best and trust in God's judgment,'' she said Wednesday on the stoop of her parents' home.Those quotes aren't about Benkert's hurricane duty though, they're resoponding to his upcoming deployment to Iraq:
A former submariner, 76-year-old Chuck Malby said his daughter and her family can take all the blows. ''When you look at everything, we have a lot to be thankful for,'' Malby said.
Already, Katrina delayed Andrew Benkert's deployment to Iraq until mid-October. And Rita, which reached strongest-hurricane status Wednesday evening after passing the Keys, could delay his deployment further. He said he didn't know how long he would be overseas.Just ordinary American military families, doing their jobs.
''It kind of wears on you,'' he said. ``I'm used to leaving seven months at a time. Unfortunately, she's getting used to it. That's one of my regrets, that she's getting used to it.
``My only saving grace is my wife. She's a strong woman.''
Thanks for pointing out to us another unsung hero.
I have one in my family, too. My brother SFC Marty Cooper, US Army, is a full-time, active duty Recruiter in the US Army. He commands a recruiting station in League City, Texas.
I wrote about his professionalism and devotion to duty and to his soldiers here.
Just another soldier doing his job, much better than most of us will ever be able to do our own.Posted by Robbie at September 23, 2005 05:03 PM
hey andy, this is your buddy domanski, you know, fat ass, whats up thumbs ive been trying to locate you since the elrod days, i sure hope you see this somehowPosted by John Domanski at February 3, 2006 03:33 AM Hide Comments | Show/Add Comments in Popup Window(2) | (Note: You must refresh main page to view newly posted comments here)