21 November 2009

In the Sky with Emma Sky

Emma Sky has become a very unlikely heroine in the Iraq War. An avowed pacifist, she nevertheless has become a fixture alongside Generals Raymond Odierno and David Petraeus. A woman of particularly small build, she seems to be quite an amusing walking beside General Odierno. (If Gen. Odierno is Shrek, according to comedian Stephen Colbert, Emma Sky must be Princess Fiona. Before Princess Fiona turned into a green thing, I need to make that clear).

She's become somewhat of an unlikely celebrity in Iraq. I was part of the afternoon crew, flying a mission in Northern Iraq to pick up a general, after the morning crew had dropped him off for a meeting. The morning crew had passed along some details of their mission.

"We flew the general and Emma Sky!", said one warrant officer, with some noticeable excitement.

Another warrant officer asked, "Wait, you mean the Emma Sky? From that book, The Gamble?"

He turned to me and said, "Sir, have you read that book?" I sheepishly nodded an affirmative. (I only hang out with cultured people.)

It surprised me that she was well known not only among the ranks of senior policymakers in Iraq, but also among many of the troops who usually spent most of their day talking about airspace coordination measures.

The warrant officer continued, "Yeah, they accidentally put her in the 'hurricane seat'", referring to the rearmost right passenger seat of the Black Hawk. When the cabin doors were open, which they usually were in the summertime, owing to the lack of air conditioning in the aircraft, the winds would buffet whoever was flying in that particular seat.

The warrant officer noted that the day's ride was not the best one she'd experienced. I felt sorry that she had such a horrible flight--the hurricane seat isn't where you put a VIP, to be certain. Fortunately, there was a little e-mail correspondence back and forth between us, and I was relieved to learn that reports of her discomfort were greatly exaggerated. (Still, don't put VIPs in the hurricane seat. Seriously.)

With that said, the New York Times ran a great story about Dr. Sky today. I find it amazing that a pacifist has become an important player in military policy. I'll also never forget her words when referring to the quality of character found in the US military, when contrasted with much of American society: "America does not deserve its military".


Unknown said...

I read the article and was quite impressed by Ms. Sky. I also came away from the article very impressed with Gen. Odierno. I don’t think you’ll find too many business executives who would be comfortable having an outspoken critic hanging around them all the time telling them things that they should have thought about but didn’t. In that regard, he’s a VERY unusual leader.

Anonymous said...

Ms Emma Sky has still not answered questions in Britain about why she defended a £1.9 million project in
Palestine that - in her own words
- was 'non-existent'. She's not a
'Doctor' either - but is a bully.


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