'It's the mission first' for NH Guard unit
Chief Warrant Officer II Luke Koladish, a pilot from Pittsfield, holds his daughter, Rose, while awaiting the start of the ceremony. (Bruce Taylor/Union Leader)
Sgt. Tim Comtois of Stratford needed his mother’s signature to join the Guard at the age of 17.
“When he’s deployed, I cry any time I see an Army guy,” Janice Comtois said. “When you see the welcome-homes on TV or hear of the copter crashes over there, your heart beats because you don’t know and you say, ‘Is it mine?’”
“I’m very proud, because they don’t do it for the gratitude; this doesn’t mean anything,” she said gesturing to the large crowd that gathered in an aviation hanger for the welcoming ceremony. “They do it because they want to; he joined knowing what he wanted to do. He always wanted to be a medic.”
Members served in four forward operating bases, fortified installations that support soldiers and units involved in military operations.
McKay, the sergeant who oversaw day-to-day operations, said the soldiers were able to rise to a high level of service because they focused on their job responsibilities — which included emergency evacuation of hundreds of wounded and injured soldiers, including 238 of which were urgent or priority evacuation cases.
“We were going out and picking up somebody who got injured on the battlefield; your goal is to get that guy, who is hurt, back home alive,” he said. “That’s really the only thing that you’re focusing on when you’re doing your job over there.”
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