Army Maj. Donald Crider, a
Seattle native assigned to the 126th Aviation
Regiment, performs a pre-flight check on a UH-60
Black Hawk helicopter used for medical
evacuation missions near Amarah, Iraq. Crider
and soldiers of the 126th support the 1st
Cavalry Division's 4th Brigade Combat Team. U.S.
Army photo by Pfc. Terence Ewings, 4th Brigade
Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division
||AMARAH, Iraq, Aug. 1, 2008
-- Six months ago, Army Maj.
Donald Crider was teaching high school physics
in Seattle. Today, he's assigned to the 1st
Cavalry Division's 4th Brigade Combat Team,
flying helicopters in southeastern Iraq.
Crider was activated from the Inactive Ready
Reserve to deploy with the 126th Aviation
Regiment as a UH-60 Black Hawk helicopter pilot.
He flies on medical evacuation missions.
“We are here for the soldiers [and] to make sure
we can respond to any kind of medical help they
would need,” Crider explained. He added that his
transition from the classroom to the cockpit
only intensified his motivation to help the
soldiers here. “It's moving to know you are the
difference between someone living and dying,” he
The Seattle native who helped students
learn physics for five years now is helping soldiers feel
secure on the Iraqi battlefield.