Navy pilots reprimanded

Here's another stellar example of our government's skewed sense of priorities sent in by AlterNet contributor Kelly Hearn: The military reprimands two Navy pilots for rescuing more than 100 survivors from New Orleans last Tuesday. Returning from an assigned trip to deliver emergency supplies to a federal center, the men responded to a radio transmission from the Coast Guard asking for help. Here's a description of what these two guys did on that day:

Meanwhile, Lieutenant Shand landed his helicopter on the roof of an apartment building, where more than a dozen people were marooned. Women and children were loaded first aboard the helicopter and ferried to the airport, he said.
Returning to pick up the rest, the crew learned that two blind residents had not been able to climb up through the attic to the roof and were still in the building. Two crew members entered the darkened building to find the men, and led them to the roof and into the helicopter, Lieutenant Shand said.
Recalling the rescues in an interview, he became so emotional that he had to stop and compose himself. At one point, he said, he executed a tricky landing at a highway overpass, where more than 35 people were marooned. [LINK]
Rather than receive the hero's welcome they deserved, the pilots were told that "the lengthy rescue effort was an unacceptable diversion from their main mission of delivering supplies." Their commanding officer Michael Holdener told the New York Times, "(T)hey were told we have other missions we have to do right now and that is not the priority." Instead, Lt. Matt Udkow, the more outspoken of the two, was put on kennel duty. But maybe that's not much of a punishment given the behavior of human beings these days.

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