10 May 2009

Strangers in the night [vision goggles]

Every so often, you have to fly an hour of night vision goggles not because the mission dictates it, but for the sole reason of re-setting your currency in that particular mode of flight. Last night was such a night. I was flying with an experienced warrant officer who had spent most of his time in the venerable UH-1 Huey helicopter, and whose last assignment was in the mountains of Washington State.

As it was getting darker, I watched the sun descend in the sky, turning the desert sky a slightly reddish hue, and making the flight behind our wingleader that much more interesting. This reminded the senior warrant officer about a night-vision goggle re-currency flight during which he flew with an aviator who was just a few days away from becoming uncurrent. After days of bad weather at night, they finally decided to fly in the very early morning, logging the full hour of night-vision time necessary to re-set the currency clock.

He recalled the story. "We flew to the top of Mount Yakima, and set the skids [the Huey's landing gear] on top of the mountain, making sure we landed with the nose pointing to the east. We then watched the sun rise over Mount Yakima"

As the image of a sunrise over a crisp, cool mountain, covered in downy snow ran through my mind, he then began to describe the scene further.

"And as the sun rose, we held hands across the cockpit..."

I turned away from looking at flight lead and over to the warrant officer.

"Dude, don't worry, man, I'm just kidding"

"Don't ever do that again, man"


SJ said...

Like any war story, love and romance emerges from the violence and chaos. For what is product of destruction but the fertile ground for new life, new hope? Besides, with "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" on the way my friend, yours would not be a forbidden love. ;) :P

El Goyito said...

You asked for it, Starbuck.