His Wingman

With seconds, slipping by,
He stayed to shield from up the sky:
To protect his wingman from danger below,
To keep him safe, from fire from foe...

Then too, he others sought to save
From the harm and hurt that war can bring...
This courageous pilot, one so brave
Was flying a bird with wounded wing...
An American eagle in flight,
            With a hero, to give it sight...

And nigh, another wingman flew,
One there all through his life:
From birth, that moment unto,
That moment in peril and strife...

I'd like to think that his angel near,
Did whisper a prayer into his ear,
Did fold his wings about him fast,
Did hold him close to the very last...

And that when dawn eternal came,
The Creator called him, Keith by name,
And with this wingman he flew aloft,
His hand ahold a pinion soft...
John Riedell

Written in tribute to Apache pilot Chief Warrant Officer Keith Yoakum, who courageously gave his life for his country in Iraq.  .
     He was taken from his family,  his fellow aviators and his friends, including
the one who encouraged him to fly as a young man back in Hemet, California.


   In memory of CWO4 Keith Yoakum, pilot of AH-64D Apache Longbow 02-5337,brought down over Iraq on February 2nd, 2007, and nominated by his CO and troop for the Medal of Honor.
      Embry-Riddle Alumni Eagle's Nest website reported,
"Although his aircraft sustained heavy damage, he kept it in the air covering his wingmen and continued to engage enemy targets until the very end."

Pictures above and to the left are from the cover of the funeral program for Keith at Ft. Rucker, Alabama

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Site Last Updated on 12/01/13