DUBLIN, Va. – Dale Shrader is a native of the New River Valley.
He piloted the Black Hawk helicopter that was shot down by a rocket-propelled grenade in Somalia.
“My main story has got to be the Lord saving my life and my copilot's life. It was a true miracle that morning on the 25th of September, 1993,” Shrader said.
The local veteran of the U.S. Army and his copilot were the only survivors. Three soldiers died in the crash.
“There was a grenade that one of the men threw at us while we were on the ground and it never went off,” Shrader said.
Jeffery Walke is a U.S. Marine Corp veteran. He said getting to hear from Shrader inspires him on a higher level.
“It means everything to me because I'm touching history here. He's speaking from his heart and I'm getting the fact of what really went down. I got the perspective from a man on the ground trying to save his friend,” Walke said.
Shrader saved his copilot's life, earning him the Silver Star.
“I had just been a Christian two years earlier, and just being shot down, I had a sense of peace,” Shrader said.
During this Memorial Day weekend, Shrader hopes everyone will reflect on those who gave the ultimate sacrifice for freedom.