Apaches, Chinooks, Blackhawks, oh my!

A few others have written about Hurricane Katrina in much more depth and more eloquently than I, so while I'm amazed at the depths of this tragedy on many levels, I want to focus on one aspect: the mind-boggling ineptitude of the U.S. government regarding air support.

I try to avoid politics here because I realize there are two sides to every issue (and I really hate conflict). While I don't always agree with Michael Moore, I wondered, too, about the U.S. Army helicopters sitting idly here this week on the military base I work. An excerpt from his letter to the president:

Friday, September 2nd, 2005

Dear Mr. Bush: Any idea where all our helicopters are? It's Day 5 of Hurricane Katrina and thousands remain stranded in New Orleans and need to be airlifted. Where on earth could you have misplaced all our military choppers? Do you need help finding them? I once lost my car in a Sears parking lot. Man, was that a drag.
The Home of Army Aviation is located in Southeastern Alabama, about 300 miles east of New Orleans - less than three hours by air. To prepare for Hurricanes Ivan and Dennis, helicopters were evacuated to Georgia for safety within a day's notice (phew - thank goodness the equipment is always safe during nature's wrath).

With this same amount of advance notice, I don't understand why these helicopters weren't mobilized from here no later than day 2, at least until an organized relief effort could begin. Maybe the president needs a giant key alarm that will beep and make noise next time he misplaces his aviation units.

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