Thursday, July 29, 2004

flying about

Every time I get a CASEVAC mission it just seems like the powers that be wait till I've been asleep for oh say 45 minutes then rush in and bum rush me. My usual words for the first 30 seconds are "What? When? Who?" Blah. Somehow the adrenaline rush takes longer to hit each time. Think it"s a conspiracy to just interrupt my sleep. Most often my flights have nothing to do with someone actually being hurt, just some mission somewhere that there is a possibility that someone could be and having me along is better insurance then having the aircrew, who need to man the guns, trying to patch someone back together. So I wake up, gather my ton of medical gear, toss it on the back of whatever vehicle we have running around that day and stow it onto the aircraft. Most of my missions are usually just support missions that can be turned CASEVAC at a moments notice, I"m there incase someone makes that call or something goes down on the ground. I don"t do anything medical wise unless something goes wrong, I"m just added muscle and of course take pictures, I use NVG"s to take pictures at night, camera flashes when you're flying in a hostile area is bad juju. We fly around taking gear and people from one place to the next, sometimes all night long, just stopping to refuel. If we're moving more gear then people I give a hand unloading. If its just people, I just sit back and study the insides of my eyelids, flack jackets make great neck braces to lean against. Unlike the regular aircrew who are required to have 8 hours of crew rest, I don't fly on a schedule, they just grab me from whatever I'm doing and off we go, if I get there in time for the brief, I'll at least have at least a clue to why they need me on the particular mission, but there are those days when I show up and the bird is already turning and it's a mad rush to get my gear ready hoping that I didn't forget anything. We do have some interesting missions, the other day I hung out with Recon for a couple of hours while we were waiting for it to get dark and listened to their war stories. Just killing time before they needed to be taken someplace. The stuff they've been through! They show a totally different prospective then the one I have and most people that I've talked to on the ground. For one, they see action almost daily and they're not out patrolling the streets, they has specific missions that are usually a onetime deal, usually everything is planned on the strike and they execute it. They're always prepared to go in guns blazing but the job is best done if a shot is never fired. They seemed to be a pretty good crew, friendly, relaxed and didn't seem stressed out at all by being in the middle of a war or the mission that they were doing that night. They also had a combat photographer with them and we passed tips back and forth about photography and best ways to use NVG's for taking pictures and videos. That night filming with his camcorder he ended up using a spare set of our flying NVG's instead of the civilian ones that the government had bought that were made for his camcorder. I showed him how much better the quality was with video using my NVG's compared to his and he was an instant convert, heh, I showed a professional something new. Can't tell you want we actually did but it definitely kept me up and interested. I'm out of here in a couple of weeks and there are some things that I'm sure to miss.

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