KINGMAN, Kan. (KSNW) — As a part of Charlie Company 1st and 126th, Michael Comeau would deploy to Tallil, Iraq, in 2007.
“It’s kind of like the tower at the airport, except for you’re only focused on your unit’s aircraft, so you follow them wherever they go, not just in a certain area,” Comeau said. “Our area covered everything south of Baghdad, so we had everything down to the border of Kuwait.”
Working in an eight-man team, Comeau would oversee 12 helicopters amongst four stations, tracking each mission and coordinating flights to get wounded soldiers to safety.
“Everything that they need is your responsibility. If somebody called in for a Medivac, we would take the calls and get the helicopters fueled up,” Comeau said.
Comeau says the four stations were constantly under the threat of an attack. He recalled one particularly devastating attack on Forward Operating Base (FOB) Garry Owen.
“We ended up getting mortared. I think 40 rounds came in. There was a gentleman that out of anyone that got injured, we ended up losing one,” Comeau said.
Comeau says the victim was a mechanic, an acquaintance of his that worked on his Humvee.
“I ended up having to help with, with different things, trying to hold him down while they were sedating him,” Comeau said. “They ended up putting bags of blood into him because he was losing so much, but they didn’t see the holes in his back, so all the blood that they put into him just poured back out; I remember that sound. It’s, uh, I don’t know. That sound is just horrible.”
Comeau would receive the Army Commendation Medal for his heroic deeds. Years later, while preparing for a second deployment, Comeau sustained a shoulder injury during training, ultimately ending his career. He says the adjustment back to civilian life is still proving a constant uphill battle.
“I wish they would do more training on how to get back into civilian life because when scenarios like that happen, you just react,” Comeau said. “It’s, it is scary.”
Before his injury, Comeau continued to serve as a Blackhawk helicopter mechanic. He remained in the Army and the Army National Guard for 10 years.
If you want to nominate a veteran for our Veteran Salute, email KSN reporter Hannah Adamson at email@example.com.