Wednesday, March 18, 2009
Riding in Battle Gear
Yesterday I returned to the FARP (Forward Area Refueling Point) to see both Blackhawks and Chinooks refueling and rearming. Today when the Blackhawks took off they flew to a nearby machine gun range and circled at steep angles firing their door guns. Yesterday I watched the fueling from the other side of the range road because I did not bring battle gear.
We had no scheduled training in the afternoon so I rode to the FARP on my borrowed bike. Since I wanted to get close to the birds and talk to the fuelers, I wore my bulletproof vest and carried the Kevlar helmet in a backpack. When I left it was 87 degrees and sunny. So I got a small preview of my future by riding in my full uniform and bulletproof vest with a pack. I wore a bicycle helmet on the road because Army helmets aren't approved for road use. I got some strange looks even on an Army range road. The ride was longer than in bike clothes--I climb a lot slower with 30 pounds of battle gear and pedaling in combat boots.
I got to the FARP just in time to see two Chinooks take off and within a minute two Blackhawks zoomed in from the south. When the Chinooks came back I called my son Nigel and held the phone up while the big helicopters refueled and rearmed. When Nigel and Annalisa got home, they looked up Chinook on the web. Then Nigel got his geography lesson for the day about where Daddy and Chinooks are and where they are going.