Monday, January 26, 2009

An Aviator’s Perspective

I work in the Operations Section of Task Force 449 and fly an AH-64D Apache Longbow helicopter. My normal duties include both traditional administrative work as well as getting the opportunity to get out of the office and fly.

Our Tactical Operations Center (TOC) staff includes a great group of Soldiers, who provide 24 hour coverage including: radio operators, battle managers, airspace surveillance managers, weather forecasters and intelligence officers. These Soldiers continually monitor all aviation operations with some of the best technology in the world.

But my desk job just keeps me going until my next opportunity to fly. I typically fly one of our regularly scheduled missions with our subordinate attack helicopter battalions. This gives me the opportunity to fly with some of the best Soldiers and pilots in the Army. Some of these pilots have flown multiple missions per week for over a year and some have been in Iraq for multiple deployments. These Soldiers/pilots are the best the Army has to offer. In addition to the great people, the aircraft is amazing and seeing Iraq from the air is truly exhilarating.

I have been deployed twice and have been able to fly in both Afghanistan and Iraq. Iraq is not as mountainous and has much less vegetation than Afghanistan. Iraq also has more people and is more developed. Fortunately, today’s Iraq is a lot safer than it was only a year ago. The security environment continues to rapidly improve and the Iraqi people are assuming responsibility for their own security. Most of our missions are reconnaissance and security missions. I have had the opportunity to see a great deal of the country. I have flown over the crossed sabers in Baghdad, the gates of Ishtar, and the ancient city of Babylon, where one of the seven ancient wonders of the world once existed.

One of the reasons I continue to serve are the bonds that I continue building with the many people in which I serve. This “Band of Brothers” includes Soldiers in the TOC; aviators I fly with; and friends I spend time with in the off hours. For example, Chief Warrant Officer Reeves is a pilot, who I have flown with for over 14 years. I work with Lieutenant Judkins, a Battle Captain in the TOC. Jay McKeown is our legal officer and my running partner. The trust and respect that I have for my teammates on this deployment is very typical of many generations of Soldiers.

All this excitement and service does come with sacrifice. In my most difficult times, I only have to remember my great wife who somehow manages a home in Cary with our three children. I am grateful for the love and support at home that I, and all of our Soldiers, continue to receive. I also have a great employer, GlaxoSmithKline, that has provided job security through two deployments and great people to work with.

This deployment has reminded me what a unique and critical role the N.C. National Guard provides our nation. I am grateful to have the opportunity to serve with such great people.

Maj. Jason Weaver and Chief Warrant Officer Calhoun pose in front of an Apache helicopter before their flight in Iraq.

Maj. Jason Weaver, an Apache helicopter pilot with Task Force 449, has been in the N.C. National Guard for more than 18 years.


  1. Hi Jason! The crawl line across the bottom of the screen advised you'd "checked in" to the blog, BUT imagine the breathless moments between seeing your name....then the Task Force 449 information... and then "has"... "checked in from Baghdad on the Carolina 14 Blog...exhale! Your posting is beautifully written (I'm envious your seeing the Ancient Sites) Mostly, am grateful to you (and your lovely family) for doing this for our Country! We miss you at GSK. Keep up the good work. Best regards, GeoRene

  2. My husband too has 18 years of military experience, as he serves with you in Iraq. Our prayers are with you & your family as you serve the good ole U S of A!

  3. Great to hear that you're doing well Major Weaver! Your old team at GlaxoSmithKline is thinking about you every day. Keep yourself and your team there safe and hurry back.

    And,, don't scare us like that. Don't scroll a local soldier's name across the bottom of the screen without any indication of why it is scrolling. Start with "The latest soldier to blog on . . ." so that our hearts don't jump into our throats when we see a friend's name.

  4. Maj. Weaver....thank you so much for your willingness to continue to protect us and to help the people in Iraq and Afghanistan. It is really great to hear good news of the great job and the good that our soldiers are doing and not the crap that we only hear from the media. It is too bad that the media doesn't let people know what really is going on but only dwells on the bad parts. THANK YOU SO MUCH for the report.

  5. Hi Jason. I too, was a little concerned at first when I saw your name scroll across the bottom of the news14 screen yesterday morning. We haven't talked in over a year and I didn't know that you had been deployed. As recently as a couple of weeks ago, I had thought about trying to get you, Carol, Chuck and myself together for lunch sometime. Guess it will have to wait until you return. Thank you for your continuing service to our country!

  6. Hey, Jason!! You make your old neighborhood of Northshore proud! I still remember the days of a flyover, rattling the windows!
    Glad you are in a safer place now, made safer by you and your fellow "workers."
    Thank you for helping make the world a much safer place!
    Will and Carol

  7. Hi Jason:

    I grew up in a military family. My father was a career Army officer. One of my brothers was in the Air Force. One of my brothers was in the Army and flew Apache's in Granada during the invasion. He loved his job and his band of brothers also. I think that people who are not involved in the Army or any military service, don't understand the feeling of country. They don't seem to understand what freedom is because they take it for granted. I really apprecate all that you do. Keep up the great work!

  8. You don't know how good it is to read positive things that are happening in Iraq. The media and politicians certainly do their best to give us their spin on the "worst" of what has happened since we've been in Iraq. I am in awe of your commitment, compassion, skills and inner strength. God Bless you, your family and all the brothers and sisters that stand with you to fight for the freedoms we enjoy! I pray for your safe return home.

  9. Jenna and Tim WillisFebruary 8, 2009 at 4:59 PM

    Jason, Just now getting a chance to read this. I'm so proud to be your cousin! What you are doing is so awesome. You're the best! When you get back we're coming for a visit. Thanks for your service and sacrifice and send an email when you can. Love ya!

  10. Jason
    you are a cousin of my cousin and we played in grandma Deanie's basement a few times
    I pray for your safe return and your fellow soldiers

  11. I cannot begin to tell you how grateful I am to you and every other military personnel who serves our Country. You are an incredible group of people, and every citizen of the United States of America should be proud to have you serve our Country. I most certainly am. Thank You. God Bless You and Your Family! We are praying that you all come home safely!