The Refueling Crew at Camp Garry Owen in Iraq in 2009.
Soldiers from Echo Company, 2-104th General Support Aviation Battalion
I made two trips to Camp Garry Owen during my deployment to Iraq in 2009-10. This small base was close to the Iran-Iraq border and was hit by rockets regularly. When I flew up it was on a Blackhawk helicopter taking carrying a team that was looking for smugglers along the border.
When I got to the base, I took a tour of the tiny facility and wrote about it here. Matt Kauffman (3rd from left, 2nd row) took me on a tour.
When we got back to the fueling area, I watched a Chinook helicopter land in the tiny space between the blast walls of the base. When I say a query on twitter from Maiken Scott of WHYY's The Pulse about moments of Awe, I called right away.
The lead pilot on that Chinook was Chief Warrant Officer 4 Jeff Hatt. At minute 14 on the link below, I describe as best as I can remember the watching Jeff Hatt land that big bird in that small space by turning 90 degrees at the last moment.
He made the same maneuver on take-off. It was just as impressive to watch in either direction.
Seeing any expert do their best work is something I love. Whether it is sports or flying or racing or dance or writing, seeing the best at work is wonderful.