Rafford serves with pride

12 years ago

Donny Rafford, a Houlton High School graduate, is serving at the Udari Army Air Field at Camp Buehring in Kuwait. He is assigned to 35th CAB (Combat Aviation Brigade) 2/135th AVN BN (Task Force Blackjack), C-Co 1-126th AVN GSAB, providing MEDEVAC operations in support of Operation Enduring Freedom.
    “A mouthful, I know,” Rafford wrote in his Facebook message. He is the son of Deborah and Clark Rafford.
Rafford’s company will rotate back to the United States this spring. But, they have been facing some extreme ranges of weather as of late.
“It has been crazy hot and dusty,” he wrote. “But it rained for the first time in seven months, and boy did it rain! And thunder and lightning.”
Temperatures in Kuwait range from an average of 100 degrees during the day to a high of 60 to 70 degrees at night.
In January 2013, Rafford will have completed his 16th year in the Maine Army National Guard.
“I wouldn’t change a minute of it,” he wrote. “Everything has a ripple effect. To change one thing,  I wouldn’t be where I am today … in the middle of a desert flying Black Hawks for the Army and loving every minute of it.”
Flying high above the desert, Rafford gets to see a unique picture of a war-torn country, while reaffirming his commitment to America.
“No matter if we are here, there or anywhere between, we are serving America’s finest and always remain “Above the Best,’” he noted.
When Rafford was young, he dreamed of a military aviation career, as he watched his father, Clark, in the United States Air Force.
“Never in a million  years did I think I would ever [accomplish becoming] a pilot,” he said. “I am blessed to be where I am today and thankful to have met such great people along the way.”
As his years of military service pile up, Rafford said so does his extension of family.
“My family gets a little bit bigger with brothers and sisters,” he said. “And believe me, without them and the support of my family back home and all of you who stand behind us, we could never stand in front of you!”
Before closing his message, Rafford told of a unique perspective of Kuwait.
“It is kind of funny that the shape of the country of Kuwait looks a lot like Aroostook County! Ha,ha. I think of that every time I look at the map, which as a pilot, is daily.”