Clubs Donahoe praises American pilots

Maj. Damian Donahoe briefed Rotarians Tuesday noon about his experience three months earlier this year as a U.S. Army ground liaison officer in Qatar supporting Air Force bombing mission in Iraq. A former teacher at Vermillion High School before his service abroad, Donahoe is now a staff member and instructor in USD's ROTC program.

A National Guardsman for nearly 20 years, Donahoe received two days' notice in February, shortly after joining the ROTC, faculty, that his unit was being assigned to Qatar. He described Qatar as being "two countries away" from the heat of the action in Iraq. Donahoe's job, however, was to brief Air Force pilots on the exact location of friendly troops and humanitarian facilities in relation to targets so that bombing raids from remote bases into Iraq did not go awry. He was usually involved in 12 to 20 such briefings each day and otherwise had just enough time to sleep.

Donahoe praised American pilots for their professionalism and their genuine concern for restricting damage they inflicted to the job that "had to be done." He also praised the British military personnel, but held a special commendation for the Australians in involved in the Iraqi conflict for combining a fun-loving attitude with a very professional approach to their work.

Despite all the care taken, Donahoe said his unit was not immune to adversity when two Air Force personnel they had briefed were lost in action over Iraq. He was impressed that other pilots, while obviously upset at losing colleagues, did not "blink" when it came to continuing with their own missions in the combat zone.

Donahoe also expressed his appreciation of the Vermillion community for its support of his wife and five children during the time he was away in service to his country.

Ruth Ellen Scott was a Rotary guest, and club members received their 2003-2004 club membership directories from the editor, Missy Mayfield.

Dominoes players try their luck

Twelve domino players tried their luck Tuesday, July 22 at the Senior Citizens' Center. It was a lovely day so everyone at the two tables were ready to try their luck. Low scores went to Louie Fostvedt and Dick Munkvold, high scores were given June Munkvold, and Doris Schmidt. Dominoes are played every Tuesday afternoon. Come enjoy the game.

On Wednesday, July 23, there were 23 pitch, four pinochle and 16 bridge players at the Senior Center. Bridge prizes went to Max Christol, first; Barb Kronaizl, second; Howard Melstad, third; Maurice Erickson, blind bogey and Russ Heikes, low. Card players gather every Wednesday afternoon; no reservations are necessary to participate Tuesday or Wednesday.

We hope to see you there. Marlys Miller and Barb Kronaizl furnished refreshments.

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