Courtesy story: 211th Mobile Public Affairs Detachment

Story by:  Sgt. Jeff Daniel

Posted: June 2, 2015

 
Sgt. Jeff Daniel Sgt. Omar Anwar, a crew chief with Charlie Company, 1-108th Air Assault out of Austin, Texas, climbs into his seat on the UH-60 Black Hawk that he is assigned to for a flight May 26. The Texas National Guard is supporting Beyond the Horizon 2015. BTH15 is a joint humanitarian and civic engineering exercise sponsored by U.S. Southern Command and the government of El Salvador to show support for the country of El Salvador. (U.S. Army photo by Sgt. Jeff Daniel)
Sgt. Jeff Daniel
Sgt. Omar Anwar, a crew chief with Charlie Company, 1-108th Air Assault out of Austin, Texas, climbs into his seat on the UH-60 Black Hawk that he is assigned to for a flight May 26. The Texas National Guard is supporting Beyond the Horizon 2015. BTH15 is a joint humanitarian and civic engineering exercise sponsored by U.S. Southern Command and the government of El Salvador to show support for the country of El Salvador. (U.S. Army photo by Sgt. Jeff Daniel)

COMANDO DE INGENIEROS DE LA FUERZ ARMADA, El Salvador - A strange voice comes from ship 191 not often heard on this Salvadoran field covered in green grass. The ship is a UH-60 Black Hawk that belongs to the Texas National Guard and the voice has an unusual accent, sort of a different twang -- a British twang. 

Sgt. Omar Anwar, a crew chief with Charlie Company, 1-108th Air Assault out of Austin, Texas, is originally from London, England, and has lived in the U.S. for eight years. His story, he claims, is full of romance and scandal.

He, along with is unit, are here to support Beyond the Horizon 2015 in El Salvador by providing casualty evacuation support and site surveys. CASEVAC support is the means of picking up an injured person and transporting them to a medical facility for care. 

But how did a British citizen find his way to Texas and then El Salvador in the first place. Let’s go back almost a decade, to the beginning.

He was originally part of a military cadet exchange program between the U.S. and Great Britain. As the story goes, he met a female soldier from the Texas National Guard. He later returned to Texas, enlisted in the National Guard and by the end of his basic training was a citizen.

“Initially it worked out great. There was a point when I asked myself why did I do this, because that little romance ended in divorce,” said Anwar. “I am lucky enough to have a fiancé now. But at the time it was a little rough.”

“I only got interested in being a pilot when I came to the United States,” said Anwar. “The original reason I wanted to join the U.S. military was to become a pilot.”

“I wanted to fly Black Hawks more than any other airframe,” said Anwar. “I figured the best way to get a foot in the door was to actually work on the aircraft and then go to flight school.”

He is currently past the age to go to flight school.

As his story continues, when he enlisted he chose to be a Black Hawk maintainer. 

“I was actually working in a maintenance company. I got to do a couple of flights and I was picked to move into a flight company from there, I progressed to become a crew chief.”

I love the versatility of the Black Hawk, Anwar said proudly, referring to the fact they can perform different types of missions from medevac to combat to insertion and extraction.

“I love doing hoist missions,” said Anwar. “I really enjoy sitting on the edge of the aircraft with the doors open sending a medic down to be able to actually help someone, and rescue them and bring them up to the aircraft.”

His responsibilities as a crew chief include maintenance and readiness of the Black Hawk, and to make sure that any occupants are safely protected.

Anwar is expressingly proud of his job and his unit.

“In a million years I never thought I would I be working one of these things, let alone get to fly around in one,” said Anwar.

“The best part my job is the flying,” said Anwar. “Also I just love knowing that I can tell people that I am a crew chief.”