News: Hometown News Release: Sgt. Jeremy David Sledge
Story by Spc. Reese Von Rogatsz
GHAZI AVIATION BASE, PAKISTAN – Sgt. Jeremy David Sledge, a UH-60 maintainer and section crew chief with Delta company of the 1st Battalion, 52nd Aviation Regiment, 16th Combat Aviation Brigade is currently serving here as part of Task Force Denali on a humanitarian assistance mission in support of Pakistan’s flood relief efforts.
“I joined the Army to make a difference,” said Sledge, who sees military service as an opportunity to change people’s lives, including his own, in a positive way.
A Houston native and graduate of Tomball High School, he supervises all maintenance and ensures that the eight Black Hawk helicopters are able to fly and accomplish their mission.
The general support aviation battalion of the 16th CAB out of Fort Wainwright, Alaska has been using the lift and movement capabilities of 18 CH-47 Chinook and UH-60 Black Hawk helicopters to rapidly deliver aid and humanitarian assistance to flood-affected regions of the northern Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province.
The heavy rains of the 2010 monsoon season and unprecedented floods that followed displaced millions of inhabitants and caused widespread devastation in their wake. Damage to livelihoods, property and infrastructure throughout the country is underscored by the fact that, at one point, nearly one-fifth of the land area was underwater.
Since commencing flight operations Sept. 11, TF Denali helicopters and personnel, working in close coordination with the Pakistan military, have provided airlift for more than 13 million pounds of relief supplies and transported more than 26,000 people.
“In many ways we’re a lot alike as to what we value most in our lives,” said Sledge, speaking about his interaction with Pakistanis. Family, friends and relationships are of foremost importance.
“What I will remember most about this mission are the people, the smiles on their faces, and being able to help,” he continued. “It feels good, it really does. It’s the greatest feeling in the world.”