Weekend warrior myth shattered during Civic Leader Tour

  • Published
  • By John Hurst
  • The Toro Company
To put my firsthand account of the 2009 Civic Leader Tour in words is a daunting challenge. It was the ultimate "WOW" experience. A warm reception followed by the 934th AW mission briefing provided us with an insightful overview of the operations. Before I knew it we were airborne on the C-130 and excited for what lie ahead. It seemed a bit odd to have an extended holding pattern around the Mpls metro area but I thought, "Perhaps this was part of the tour." Moments later we were landing back at the base due to an apparent engine issue. In an impressive display of recover and redeploy less than 30 minutes later we were on another C-130 and headed towards Tucson.

Our arrival was greeted by warm weather and a warmer reception and mission briefing by the 943rd RG. The base tour exposed us to a small but intricate dose of the Rescue Group life. Seeing the equipment first-hand and meeting the PB's was a profound experience. I'm still trying to figure out how to convince my wife that Night Vision Goggles should be a "family necessity". It might help if I could wipe the permanent smile off my face from the HH-60 flight.

So much experienced over a short time it's still sinking in. The Boneyard was both intriguing and somber as one contemplates life's journey of not only the machine but the men and women who were behind it. The A-10 touch-and-feel (love that shinny cannon) was impressive and KC-135 in-flight refueling still seems surreal; like a video game or movie witnessing a plane just out of reach while cruising at 26,000 feet.

Above and beyond the machines and smell of Kerosene was a sense of something bigger, something more profound. I've sat in many planes and experienced numerous air shows but never truly felt the military life much less from the vantage point of the Reserves. The commitment, proficiency, and unity were on display at all times. It was apparent that the old school "weekend warrior" stereotype was long-gone; replaced by a highly trained team ready to respond when the country calls. I feel truly blessed to have experienced the Civic Leader Tour and I extend a tremendous thanks to all of those involved in making it happen.