In the heart of Austin is Camp Mabry, the headquarters of the Texas Military Forces (the Texas Army National Guard, Texas Air National Guard and Texas State Guard). Every April they host a helicopter show, and this year we put it on the calendar.
Hannah loves all flying things, so we were pretty sure this would be a hit. Parking was busy, but we were able to take a little train from the lot to the main event area. Then we popped Hannah in the Bob (really glad we brought it since there was so much walking) and checked out the booths and displays. There were firetrucks and water rescue boats to explore.
We brought a picnic lunch and ate it while waiting for the main attraction – the helicopter rescue demo. It was a supposed hostage recovery simulation. First, a helicopter dropped guys to engage in the hostage rescue (about halfway through you can hear Hannah yelling, “yay! yay!” through the end, and turn your computer volume down a little before playing). Password is helicopter
Then a medic helicopter came to pick up the “wounded” soldier. This involved a guy hanging in the air then strapping the wounded soldier to him and then continuing on with both guys. I was referring to this as the “helicopter dangly rope thing” but then learned from my friend Vanessa (who has a lot of knowledge specifically about army helicopter medics) this is actually called a “hoist.”
And this was so incredibly cool that my pregnancy hormones took over and I started crying in the middle of the demo. Sheesh. Anyway, then another helicopter came and picked up the remaining soldiers on the ground. I didn’t get a picture of that because I was too busy crying or something.
After the helicopter demo was a K9 Search and Rescue unit presentation. This was all the stuff you see on TV – take-downs, drug sniffing, every command expertly obeyed. These dogs cost $7,000-$15,000 as puppies! That’s just for their genetics and personality, not any training. The handlers do all the training personally. I didn’t get any pictures of the awesome dogs because Hannah was demonstrating her lack of nap time, and we were just trying to keep her from stealing the Diet Coke from the lady behind us.
Anyway, it was a really fun day (though would have been miserable without the nice 80 degrees and slight breeze). Skipping nap time was a little rough as demonstrated by our attempt at a daddy-daughter shot in front of a medical chopper.
But everyone had a good time, and Hannah summed it up when we got home, “I want to buy a helicopter and Daddy will ride in it.”