Army Pilot Awaits Surgery As his Co-Pilot is Mourned
FORT CAMPBELL, Ky. (AP) _ Army pilot Michael Durant could recover faster from his 11 days of captivity in Somalia if all the hoopla died down, says his doctor.
″It’s been hard for him to get enough rest,″ said orthopedic surgeon Rolf Drinhaus at a news conference Monday.
Durant could go home by the end of next week, depending on when surgeons pin his broken thighbone together, his doctor said.
A memorial service was held Monday in Monrovia, Calif., for Durant’s co- pilot, Chief Warrant Officer Raymond Alex Frank of Pasadena, Calif.
Frank was killed and Durant broke his leg, as well as his his back and cheek, when their helicopter was shot down in Somalia on Oct. 3. Eighteen Americans died in the battle. Durant was held captive for 11 days by faction leader Mohamed Farrah Aidid.
″We are very thankful that Durant is OK,″ said Frank’s 24-year-old nephew, Randy Haworth. ″The teamwork is what’s important.″
Drinhaus said Durant would need some time to recover from his wounds.
″You just can’t jump up and get going,″ he said.
The operation on Durant’s leg will be performed in two or three days, when his fever has subsided and relatives have donated enough blood, Drinhaus said.
Durant, 32, is a chief warrant officer with the 160th Special Operations Aviation Regiment (Airborne), an elite unit that gained fame and the nickname ″Night Stalkers″ for low-level night flying.
His release Thursday paralleled President Clinton’s shift from military force to diplomacy in Somalia.
Durant was taken to a U.S. military hospital in Germany, then returned Saturday to a hero’s welcome at his home base here.
He is expected to recover fully within a year.