Saturday, May 14, 2011

Adventures in...Nope not Babysitting, I was going to say "March"

SPC Riggle and SPC Slaton get the aircraft ready for refuel

Taking off following another aircraft in formation flight.

Picking up patients for transfer to a better care facility.
One of our crew chiefs running back to the aircraft after helping get a patient to an ambulance.

I guess you never know when you are being watched. SFC Peden takes a picture of me taking a picture of him.

Flying over some of the fields of residents living West of Kandahar. These types of fields are common, surrounding a walled compound/home where the owners live.

Here's the reason that SFC Peden and I had our cameras out in the first place. It's not everyday that you get to see your 1SG getting violently sick while flying.

Sometimes while waiting for the next mission we have the chance to take a breather and do some people/aircraft watching of our own.

A view of the landscape of Afghanistan through the chin bubble.

Watching the other aircraft do their thing in a multiship operation.

CW2 Pete Latham and I flew several missions together in March and we had a good time. During some of these long missions, one of the best things that help pass the time are the stories that you hear from the other pilot or the crew chiefs in the back.

Afghanistan: A pilot's eye view

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Because you demanded it...

I'm trying to be more consistent with my updates. Since my last deployment I decided to specialize as a maintenance test pilot. To accomplish this I had to spend several months going through the appropriate courses, and most of that time was spent away from home. It was a struggle and my family and I had to make a lot of sacrifices to make it happen, but I am glad I was able to finish the necessary courses and progress in my career.

As a maintenance test pilot, I now spend a lot more time on the ground, trying to make certain that I can do my part to keeping the aircraft flying. The real stars of this process are the crew chiefs, most of whom fly with us, but also accomplish the maintenance required of the aircraft. That means long hours turning wrenches to remove broken components and install new ones.

CW2 "Rabbit" Parks (he hates it, but it has kind of stuck, and it fits) trying to get some of the glory and SPC Gibson, one of our Comanchero crew chiefs

SGT "Cookie" Cook, our maintenance NCO fixing stuff

SPC "Its funny no matter how you decide to pronounce it" Weiner and SGT "S-Rod" Strickrodt in the middle of what must be a profound discussion...I mean look at the backdrop!

And yes, these days even I get to help out a bit with the maintenance, although most of my work gets started after the maintenance has finished.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Since Last Time

I didn't take many photos while I flew in the US, but I did catch a few as we flew to Texas during one of our training exercises.

It was fun to fly cross country and to be able to see the US from the air.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

It's Been Awhile

Well, I am back in Afghanistan and so it is time to start up the blog again. I really enjoyed the time that I was able to spend with my family, watching the kids grow and learn. I was also able to see some extended family and spend time with them as well. This post will be short, just a prelude to starting my regular posting. Thank you for your support and your comments, its very appreciated. More to come soon!

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Here We Go Again...

I'm back in Afghanistan, and this time I'm at FOB Wolverine. When we arrived it was still cold out and we even had snow several days. I did not expect this kind of weather, but the change from snowing almost everyday to sunny and mostly warm only took a few days; it was strange. Luckily we are at a higher altitude than Kandahar so we should avoid the worst of the upcoming summer months. Last deployment we left Kandahar in April to go to FOB Shank, and it was just really warming up. I went back to Kandahar in May and it was nearly unbearable...sorry to all those that "get" to spend their deployment there.

Friday, October 9, 2009

Rest and Recuperation

I haven't posted in over a month, mostly because I have been home visiting my family. I have been back for about two weeks now and have been busy getting back into the swing of things. I wanted to post some photos and write a little about my vacation with my family.

First I had to travel from Shank to Bagram in the back of a Blackhawk. Not quite the same as riding up front. After a few days of travel, I arrived in Atlanta.

My wife and I surprised my four children, Samantha, Ethan, Noelle, and Emily by taking them to the airport in Atlanta to pick me up, but we told them that they were going to pick up their grandparents. They were very surprised to see me show up, they knew that I would be coming home eventually, but they didn't know when.
We visited Varasano's in Atlanta, and the pizza was great. They even brought us some doughnuts made out of the pizza dough and covered in sugar for free. They were messy but delicious!

We then drove home, or at least that is what we led them to believe. I know, we are horrible, but we drove to Florida to go to Disney World. Samantha, our oldest, figured it out before we arrived, by paying attention to the signs, but the others didn't realize it until we told them. We rented a house for six nights and it was great. Four bedrooms, three bathrooms, and a pool and jacuzzi. We spent five days at Disney World, visited all of the four major parks and had a great time. When we had extra time we would play in the pool. We enjoyed several of the rides so much that we rode on them multiple times. Some of our favorites were Splash Mountain, Big Thunder Mountain Railroad, Expedition Everest, and Kali River Rapids.

After five days in Florida, we drove back to Fort Campbell. We enjoyed the food at Varasano's so much that we called ahead and ordered a couple of pizzas for take-out. When we got to Tennessee we enjoyed a little over a week at home before I had to return. It was good to relax and spend time with the family. All in all it was a wonderful trip.

Monday, September 7, 2009

Photos from August

Some of the photos I took during August. Just thought I would throw them all up at once to try to keep up. The first one is of me flying; I don't get too many of those, since the other pilot had to take the picture for me.

Flying in formation, stag left.
Crossing a mountain ridge enroute from Jalalabad to Shank. This reminded me of the mountain from Lord of the Rings...Mount Doom or something like that.

The trip to Jalalabad was very beautiful, with a large river providing moisture for the whole valley. It was all very green; unlike most of the rest of Afghanistan that I have seen.

Another photo enroute to J-bad

I really liked this area, with a larger city built around the river.

Same area as above.

Quick fuel stop in between carrying passengers in the Jalalabad area.

Near the entrance of the valley to JBad

Some Bedouins we overflew on a recon near Shank. They are everywhere, and they move from place to place. Looking around you can see signs of their previous encampments; usually rings made of earth or rock that surrounded their tents at one time.

Another photo from our recon.

Northeast of Shank, right before the larger mountain peaks.

Some of the taller peaks northeast of Shank.