TAMPA (FOX 13) - A Florida Army National Guard Medievac pilot was hours away from being reunited - for good - with his best friend from Iraq Thursday night.
For nearly a year, Nick Pierzchalski flew Blackhawk helicopters in war-torn Iraq. As part of his company, it was his job to fly wounded soldiers to safety. But of all those lives saved, there's one that touched his heart in a very different way.
”This dog ran up to me, ran up to our group, and befriended us immediately,” Pierzchalski recalled of his pup, Airys.
Nick built her a kennel in the hangar, which must have felt like a resort to the once feral desert dog.
”It brought great morale to me and the whole group felt like a piece of home,” he said. ”She'd hang out with us. She was constantly with us.”
Now back home, Nick hasn't seen Airys since March. But that changes Thursday night, thanks to the help of SPCA International.
Airys and Pierzchalski will be reunited when she lands in Tampa. Their new home together is about as far away from a war zone as she can get.
“I'm excited for her reaction from seeing nothing but desert, to grass and trees and being able to chase squirrels,” he said.
Airys' flight arrives in Tampa at 11 p.m. Thursday.