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Praying for Protection

  • Alice McDermott
  • Interview by: Jess Boydon


I found myself, as captain,

with not a whole lot of experience,

but captain of a Hercules based in Oman,

flying out to Afghanistan each night,

and as I was flying up there,

I remember, particularly my young load master,

because he was a lot younger than me,

sort of saying,

"Captain, is this safe?

"Is what we're doing okay?"

And I'm thinking, well, it is and it isn't,

because we're trained to fly this aircraft.

We're doing everything in our power.

We're flying at night,

we're keeping our height.

We're gonna land,

we're gonna do a steep approach,

and land at the last minute in Kabul.

We're gonna keep the engines running,

get stuff off, get stuff on,

and get out of there,

and get the height,

but there's nothing to prevent

someone targeting the aircraft.

There's nothing to prevent small arms fire,

causing damage to the aircraft,

and so on the outside,

I was kind of super cool and super confident.

Yeah, this is fine.

We're trained for it,

and let's just get on with it.

On the inside, I started praying every night.

I just asked God to protect me,

to protect my crew,

and I really hoped that God would listen,

God would provide protection.

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