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.

http://www.newsworks.org/index.php/thepulse/item/96024-awestruck

Family Black Sheep Flies a MEDEVAC Blackhawk

Brooklyn-born Amira Talifi, (not her real name) is a helicopter pilot I served with in the Army National Guard. She is one of seven ch...