Editor’s note: 30 year old Trevor Baucom of Clarksville, Tennessee was piloting his Black Hawk helicopter into combat in Afghanistan at 3:00 one morning. His helicopter was the leader of a group made up of an Australian team of Special Forces. This was the last of more than 50 combat missions that Baucom flew for the U.S. Army. Little did he know that his whole world was about to change. Part 2 of a 5 part series.
On Baucom’s last day as a Black Hawk pilot, he was flying a team of Australian Special Forces soldiers into combat. “Our mission in Afghanistan was to fly in teams of special ops troops behind enemy lines,” Baucom explains. “These were Special Forces teams from Australia’s Special Operations Command. My helicopter had been designated as the flight lead, which meant that we navigated in front of a group of helicopters that were taking in the assault group. My Black Hawk left base at 3:00 am with 15 soldiers, including our Black Hawk crew. We were flying at 1,000 feet. As we made our assault run, we continued to get lower and lower to the ground, as we got close to the target. Once we started our descent, I was looking at the map and the radio, while wearing night vision goggles.”
The next thing Baucom remembered was waking up in Germany, strapped to a backboard with his eyes taped shut and a tube in his throat. The investigation of the crash report later revealed that Baucom’s Black Hawk had picked up a rate of descent much faster than he realized. When he did realize he was going down too fast, there was a mountain in front of him, and he didn’t have enough time to pull up the aircraft before he hit the mountain. When the Black Hawk hit the mountain, it flipped, rolled and caught fire. Four soldiers died in the crash, and the rest of the passengers had various degrees of injury. Another one of the Black Hawks that was on the same mission and in the same flight group as Baucom, landed, pulled the survivors out of the wreckage and flew them to the hospital.
Baucom remembers, “When I finally woke up, I saw a friend who was stationed with me in Germany. That first week, I was more or less in a fog and drifting in and out of consciousness.” He was then flown to U.S. Army Walter Reed Medical Center in Washington, D.C. where he was told he had a spinal cord injury. “I didn’t believe the doctors,” Baucom explains. “I remember thinking that I was invincible, and that this couldn’t happen to me.” Only 30 years old, Baucom had had a really active lifestyle. He could do anything he wanted to do. He was strong, smart and a leader. His career and his life were pretty well planned out.
Next: Paraplegic Trevor Baucom Faces Life In A Wheelchair
About the Author: For the last 12 years, John E. Phillips of Vestavia, Alabama, has been a professional blogger for major companies, corporations and tourism associations throughout the nation. During his 24 years as Outdoor Editor for “The Birmingham Post-Herald” newspaper, he published more than 7,000 newspaper columns and sold more than 100,000 of his photos to newspapers, magazines and internet sites. He also hosted a radio show that was syndicated at 27 radio stations; created, wrote and sold a syndicated newspaper column that ran in 38 newspapers for more than a decade; and wrote and sold more than 30 books. Learn more at http://www.nighthawkpublications.com