There I was at six thousand feet over central Iraq, two hundred eighty knots and we're dropping faster than Paris Hilton's panties. It's a typical September evening in the Persian Gulf; hotter than a rectal thermometer and I'm sweating like a priest at a Cub Scout meeting. But that's neither here nor there. The night is moonless over Baghdad tonight, and blacker than a Steven King novel. But it's 2006, folks, and I'm sporting the latest in night-combat technology - namely, hand-me-down night vision goggles (NVGs) thrown out by the fighter boys. Additionally, my 1962 Lockheed C-130E Hercules is equipped with an obsolete, yet, semi-effective missile warning system (MWS). The MWS conveniently makes a nice soothing tone in your headset just before the missile explodes into your airplane. Who says you can't polish a turd?
At any rate, the NVGs are illuminating Baghdad International Airport like the Las Vegas Strip during a Mike Tyson fight. These NVGs are the cat's ass. But I've digressed. The preferred method of approach tonight is the random shallow. This tactical maneuver allows the pilot to ingress the landing zone in an unpredictable manner, thus exploiting the supposedly secured perimeter of the airfield in an attempt to avoid enemy surface-to-air missiles and small arms fire.
Personally, I wouldn't bet my pink ass on that theory but the approach is fun as hell and that's the real reason we fly it. We get a visual on the runway at three miles out, drop down to one thousand feet above the ground, still maintaining two hundred eighty knots. Now the fun starts. It's pilot appreciation time as I descend the mighty Herc to six hundred feet and smoothly, yet very deliberately, yank into a sixty degree left bank, turning the aircraft ninety degrees offset from runway heading. As soon as we roll out of the turn, I reverse turn to the right a full two hundred seventy degrees in order to roll out aligned with the runway. Some aeronautical genius coined this maneuver the "Ninety/Two-Seventy."
Chopping the power during the turn, I pull back on the yoke just to the point my nether regions start to sag, bleeding off energy in order to configure the pig for landing.
"Flaps Fifty!; landing Gear Down!; Before Landing Checklist!" I look over at the copilot and he's shaking like a cat shitting on a sheet of ice. Looking further back at the navigator, and even through the Nags, I can clearly see the wet spot spreading around his crotch. Finally, I glance at my steely-eyed flight engineer. His eyebrows rise in unison as a grin forms on his face. I can tell he's thinking the same thing I am .... "Where do we find such fine young men?"
"Flaps One Hundred!" I bark at the shaking cat. Now it's all aim-point and airspeed. Aviation 101, with the exception there are no lights, I'm on NVGs, it's Baghdad, and now tracers are starting to crisscross the black sky. Naturally, and not at all surprisingly, I grease the Goodyear's on brick-one of runway 33 left, bring the throttles to ground idle and then force the props to full reverse pitch. Tonight, the sound of freedom is my four Hamilton Standard propellers chewing through the thick, putrid, Baghdad air. The huge, one hundred thirty thousand pound, lum bering whisper pig comes to a lurching stop in less than two thousand feet.
Let's see a Viper do that!
We exit the runway to a welcoming committee of government issued Army grunts. It's time to download their beans and bullets and letters from their sweethearts, look for war booty, and of course, urinate on Saddam's home. Walking down the crew entry steps with my lowest-bidder, Beretta 92F 9 millimeter strapped smartly to my side, look around and thank God, not Allah, I'm an American and I'm on the winning team. Then I thank God I'm not in the Army.
Knowing once again I've cheated death, I ask myself, "What in the hell am I doing in this mess?" Is it Duty, Honor, and Country?
You bet your ass.
Or could it possibly be for the glory, the swag, and not to mention, chicks dig the Air Medal. There's probably some truth there too. But now is not the time to derive the complexities of the superior, cerebral properties of the human portion of the aviator-man-machine model. It is however, time to get out of this shit-hole. "Hey copilot, clean yourself up! And how's 'bout the Before Starting Engines Checklist."
Remain as your screen name suggests, a wannabe. I've flown into Baggers on C130's, UH-60's, UH-47's, Airbus 330's and a scary white Fokker. The approaches are all the same, fast, scary and thrilling at the same time. The pilots are all excellent from the brits, americans and the south afrikans that fly the fokkers. Until you've been there, just appreciate their skill as pilots and leave the rest alone.
RotorImage From United States of America, joined Jun 2006, 40 posts, RR: 0
Reply 5, posted (8 years 10 months 2 weeks 3 days 7 hours ago) and read 4151 times:
This is unquestionably a joke.
It's standard practice in most squadrons nowadays that if you find a guy has left his computer without logging out or locking his screen, you're free to take full advantage of his email address to send out some less-than-self-complimentary messages. In this case, the message in question just has managed to get forwarded ad nauseum. On top of that, most of the salient details about operations there are way out of whack.
Take it from one who knows B-Dad by heart (that the tower there is on 118.3/275.8, for example) that this is a [reasonably funny, from a certain point of view] load of crap.
Maybe RotorImages is right, maybe this is a bunch of . But here are two things the writing accomplished. It made me laugh, and it gave me an appreciation for how serious ops are in that part of the world. While I doubt it's anywhere nearly as dramatic as protrayed, I can't begin to believe that it's a totally 'normal' experience.
LongbowPilot From United States of America, joined Jan 2005, 577 posts, RR: 3
Reply 9, posted (8 years 9 months 3 weeks 7 hours ago) and read 3609 times:
Quoting Halls120 (Thread starter): Or could it possibly be for the glory, the swag, and not to mention, chicks dig the Air Medal
Guess I'm glad I'm in the Army, we earn Air Medals with V's and DFC because we are looking for the guys shooting at you on short final, and taking care of our infantry brothers. Guess you Cargo Jocks don't get that glory.
Miamiair From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 10, posted (8 years 9 months 3 weeks 6 hours ago) and read 3596 times:
Quoting LongbowPilot (Reply 9): Guess I'm glad I'm in the Army, we earn Air Medals with V's and DFC because we are looking for the guys shooting at you on short final, and taking care of our infantry brothers. Guess you Cargo Jocks don't get that glory.
I think he's a jarhead. I think the Air Force did away with all their "E" models and the only thing flying the '62 vintage would be a B-52.
F4wso From United States of America, joined Oct 2003, 974 posts, RR: 11
Reply 13, posted (8 years 9 months 2 weeks 3 days 21 hours ago) and read 3144 times:
There are some recent C-130E images from the Little Rock Open House. The numbers are dwindling but still a lot of airframes flying at Little Rock, Pope, Ramstein, Selfridge, Boise. The Base Realignment and Closure implementation will enable more E model retirements. The AFRC is moving into Pope with C-130Hs. Selfridge is due to convert to KC-135s
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