ARLINGTON, VA -- Today, Chief Warrant Officer (4th class) Michael J. Durant (Ret.) issued the following statement on Barack Obama's canceled visit to Ramstein and Landstuhl:
"Over the last week, Barack Obama made time in his busy schedule to hold a rally with 200,000 Germans in Berlin, hold a press conference with French President Nicholas Sarkozy in Paris, and hold a solo press conference in front of 10 Downing Street in London. The Obama campaign had also scheduled a visit with wounded U.S. troops at Ramstein Air Base in Germany, but this stop was canceled after it became clear that campaign staff, and the traveling press corps, would not be allowed to accompany Senator Obama.
"I've spent time at Ramstein recovering from wounds received in the service of my country, and I'm sure that Senator Obama could have made no better use of his time than to meet with our men and women in uniform there. That Barack Obama believes otherwise casts serious doubt on his judgment and calls into question his priorities."
Michael Durant, CW4 (Retired), US Army; born July 23, 1961 in Berlin, NH. He entered the United States Army in August 1979. Following basic training he attended the Defense Language Institute, and was then assigned to the 470th Military Intelligence Group, Fort Clayton, Panama as a Spanish voice intercept operator. He then completed helicopter flight training at Fort Rucker, Alabama. Upon appointment to Warrant Officer 1 in November 1983, he completed the UH60 Black Hawk Qualification Course and was assigned to the 377th Medical Evacuation Company, Seoul Korea. His next assignment was with the 101st Aviation Battalion, Fort Campbell, Kentucky, where he performed duties as an instructor pilot.
Michael joined the 160th Special Operations Group on August 1, 1988. Assigned to D company, he performed duties as Flight Lead and Standardization Instructor Pilot. He participated in combat operations Prime Chance (Persian Gulf in 1989), Just Cause (Panama invasion in 1989), Desert Storm (Liberation of Kuwait in 1991), and Gothic Serpent (Somalia in 1993).
On October 3, 1993, while piloting an MH60 Black Hawk in Mogadishu, Somalia, he was shot down and held captive by hostile forces. He was released eleven days later.