Friday, August 5, 2016

Like Watching a Dinosaur Sit in a High Chair

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.

Every Week in Cold War West Germany, Gas Mask Drills

Every week during my three years in Cold War West Germany,  the Tankers of 1-70th Armor had a MOPP drill. Gene Pierce, Abel Lopez and...