Wednesday, August 11, 2004

Whirlybird to the Rescue!

Well, another week has come and passed here in the Balkans. There is a clear sky tonight. Stars as far as the eye can see, and in a few hours the cosmos will show us just how amazing it is with a shower of stars for us to marvel at.

At times, when you are out here, away from everything, you learn to appreciate the subtle beauties that we often fail to witness in our day-to-day drudgery of work and toil. Tonight a few of us are going to kick back by the satellite dish and watch the show.

Earlier today I got to participate in Air Med-Evac training. Essentially, what that means, is we train on how to call in a Blackhawk helicopter to come and pick up our buddy who either:

a- Has suffered grievous wounds at the hands of the enemy.
b- Collapsed due to lack of physical capability.
c- Got shot in the ass by one of us for taking the last double stuffed Oreo.

Never take the last ANYTHING from another man you just don’t do it.

I digress. The training was great. All the soldiers broke up into teams and we carried people in on “litters” you call them “stretchers.” With great care, we placed them into the Blackhawks and got our ass away from the chopper as quickly as possible. There are a lot of details that have to be observed when doing this. You have to make sure your weapon is pointed away from the litter, make sure they are tied in properly and the knot is under the litter, just to name a few.

My group got to go for a ride in the Blackhawk during one of the runs. It was, how do I say, I think William Shakespeare said it best, it was,

“Totally Sweet, I almost crapped my pants.”

Bowel movements aside, it was a great time. The pilot made sure to bank really hard on one of the turns so that it was as if we were staring at the ground. Then he dropped really quickly so it was like we were falling! I managed to get some video of it on my digital camera. You can here me scream out,


I feel bad for my buddy Johnston though. He went up with us but on the litter. We put him face down like he was shot in the ass so he could get a good view out the window of the Blackhawk. Normally they fly with the doors open for quick mounts and dismounts. So there is Johnston, with a huge grin on his face, ready to see Bulgaria from a birds eye view, then,


They shut the door and Johnston is strapped down, unable to move staring at a big gray door for the entire ride! Oh man, we felt so bad, but laughed nonetheless. As a small consolation, he did say he felt like he was flying when we took that dip.

Good training, and great fun.

I love my job.


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