January 12, 2011
I got something in the mail a while back and I had to tell everybody about it. David Horning, a helicopter/gunner pilot in the Army, just got back from his third tour of duty – this time he was in Afghanistan – and he mailed me an American flag that he flew during combat over there.
You just don’t get something like that in the mail every day and it pumped me up and reminded me of the sacrifice our troops make for us every single day.
The flag also came with a certificate verifying where it was flown, the date and a picture of David and Melissa Huber, the pilot of the Apache they flew in on the mission.
It said the flag was presented with great pride and honor from the pilots and crew chiefs of Alpha Company “Assassins” 1st Attack Reconnaissance Battalion, 3rd Aviation Regiment and 3rd Infantry Division. The certificate stated that the flag flew during 2.5 hours of combat aboard an AH-64D Apache Longbow Attack Helicopter, aircraft #02-052330, on an aerial escort and security mission in support of coalition forces fight against the enemies of the United States.
Just reading that gave me goose bumps.
I’ve already had the flag framed and I’m going to hang it and the certificate in a special spot at the office. It’s a constant reminder for me and anybody that sees it just how lucky we are to have guy like David Horning protecting our freedoms. David’s back in Savannah, Ga. now at Hunter Army Airfield and I hope to visit with him soon to say thanks in person. Thanks for your service David and thanks for making a difference for all of us!
My wife Jane and I sent a care package to David but we never expected to get such a special thank you. It really blew us away that he would think enough of our small gesture to send us something like that. It’s awesome!
Let me tell you a little bit more about David. He’s served two tours in Afghanistan, one in Iraq and he worked at Gitmo before that probably doing things he can’t even tell his parents, Mark and Kathie Horning up in Michigan. This dude has seen the world and he wants to back over there. He really loves what he does and I am so proud of him and all our troops. He was also named one of the most intriguing people of 2010 in his hometown paper The Livingston County Daily Press & Argus.
When David was over there last year, his team provided quick response for ground troops engaged in battle. I can’t even imagine being in the middle of that kind of action. This guy was in the middle of a war zone and he’s trying to go back. I’ve got the utmost respect for somebody willing to do that for our country and for me. That’s a real patriot right there.
Right now, Dave’s in reset mode down in Georgia and he’s training for whatever happens next. He’s got a number of options but he really would like to go back over there.
Mark can tell you the exact moment when he knew his little boy was a man because he realized that he was no longer protecting David, but David was protecting him instead. I’m going to share that with you because I think it’s a great story and it’s one that thousands of parents experience when their children enlist and then go overseas during wartime.
So right after 9-11, Mark and Dave, who had been in special forces until that time, were sitting in a room at Fort Bragg, N.C. Dave was about to be deployed and he had just been given his own room and as soon as he got in it he had to lock all his stuff up because he was going to be leaving. So father and son are sitting together and they both get quiet and were just looking at each other.
Mark finally breaks the silence and tells his son that he wished he could go and David could stay. David told Mark that he wouldn’t want his dad to have to go and do what he was about to do. That’s when Mark knew his son was a man. He was also protecting him now and he’s been doing that since.
Kathie says that since David could look up in the sky and say airplane that he’s wanted to fly. He’s always been into doing dangerous things too. His mom says he’s an adrenaline junkie. He probably gets it honest because both his grandfathers were Navy men in World War II. Kathie’s dad was a pilot so that might explain Dave’s airplane infatuation. Dave never wanted a desk job!
I know Kathie stills worries about David when he’s doing all these crazy things, but she’s getting better each time he goes and comes home safely. It’s like she says, “it’s in God’s hands and we’ve toughened up a little over the years. We’re just so proud of all that he’s done.”
We’re proud too! Thanks again David, you are the man! Thank you again for your service and the flag!