WNT Jan 20, 2012
The U.S. WNT got an inspiring and touching package in the mail the other day. It was from U.S. Army Captain Elizabeth Hultgren, who when at home is a Critical Care nurse stationed at the Madigan Army Medical Center on Joint Base Lewis-McCord in Tacoma, Wash., where she spends her days caring for the Wounded Warriors.
In the package was an American flag and a U.S. Soccer flag (see above) that are now hanging in the USA’s training room at the team hotel.
The flags were flown on one of her flights where her crew picked up a wounded civilian woman who had stepped on a IED. Due to Beth’s unit, the woman survived.
Seems that Beth has been a U.S. WNT fan since way back in 1994 while she was growing up and playing soccer in Northern California. She idolized Michelle Akers, Carin Gabara, Carla Overbeck, Tish Venturini and NorCal legend Tiffany Roberts.
Said Beth in her letter to the team: “As the international competition has begun to catch up with your program, you have not shied away from the hard work needed to say ahead of the world. While not every tournament brings home the trophy, the example you set by both winning and losing gracefully has set a standard for many of us to follow.”
Beth is currently in the midst of her second deployment as a Critical Care Nurse, this time in Afghanistan with the 82nd Airborne Division’s General Support Aviation Brigade. She is assigned the rotary-wing medical evacuation unit known as DUSTOFF.
Her job involves being on call 24/7 – even in the dark and freezing nights – to be ready in 15 minutes to run to the helicopters and launch two aircraft en route to wounded soldiers, coalition forces, civilians or prisoners of war.
In her aircraft -- the HH-60M Air Ambulance Blackhawk helicopter -- are two pilots, a crew chief responsible for the maintenance and safety of the crew, a medic and a flight nurse (that would be Beth).
Said Beth in her letter:
“As I get ready to move to a new location in Afghanistan for another six months of caring for our Wounded Warriors, I wanted to thank you for everything you have done in support of Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen and Marines that are deployed throughout the world…As you travel the world to participate in friendly matches and in tournaments, you often make time to support our Military and their families. Being so far away from home can be difficult and it is always fun to root for the home team. This American flag and U.S. Soccer flag are my way of saying thank you for taking the time out of your busy training schedule to support our Military and their families.”
No, Beth, thank YOU.
The two flags will fly in our training room for the whole tournament.