Sunday, October 15, 2006

Frequent Flyer Miles

Well, a few nights ago I went on an adventure that turned out to be very entertaining. I haven’t written about it before because of security reasons but its cool now. We were flown to an undisclosed location to pick up and escort some theater VIPs and bring them back here. Summed up, the pilots got to fly as if they were drunk and daring each other to do stupid stunts. But that’s the norm around here.

The VIPs we picked up turned out to be an NFL Team Cheerleaders (no team given for security). They are here as part of a USO tour group. I think it’s their second or third string cheerleaders. They looked pretty nervous when they met us. I think it’s because of the gear & how dirty we were. I guess they don’t have heavily armed soldiers where they’re from in the states. Their nervousness evolved into scared as the evening progressed. We explained the fact that they have to change outfits into something more befitting the location because skin tight jeans and little blouses just will not do. We dressed them up in baggy mechanic’s coveralls, helmets, gloves, and body armor. When they put on the body armor and realized how heavy it is and how thick the plates are, it sunk in that they are in a combat zone.

Then we gave them the pre-flight brief. We explained that because of where we were flying, we follow “different” rules. We will buckle their seat belt because they have to be done in a certain sequence to work and they will hold on to the seats. No photography whatsoever. If the aircraft gets shot down, don’t jump out before we crash because we will be landing on top of you. If we take rounds, it will sound like pots & pans hitting the aircraft so don’t panic. If they take a round (as in if they get shot) stick your finger in the hole and we will patch you up as soon as we can or the situation permits. If they see fire or smoke coming out of the aircraft as a result of taking fire, point it out to us and we will put it out. Screaming is generally unhelpful to us but expected. Holding onto a soldier’s hand or gear is tolerated as long as it’s not the soldier’s firing hand. He will need it to return fire. You will be able to see a little bit outside because of the moon being half-full. There will be no lights because all of us (soldiers & pilots) will be wearing night vision goggles.

We went on to encourage them to eat more food before the flight because it hurts less to vomit when your stomach is full as opposed to dry heaving. If they feel like vomiting, they are to do so only into the barf bags (3 each per person), or into their own coveralls. This is due to the fact that if they just vomit out or projectile vomit, the centrifugal force will cause the vomit to shower the rest of us and coat the instruments. When we descend to a lower altitude, we will do so very fast. If they faint because of it, we will check for a pulse but we will not bring you back to consciousness until we’ve landed.

Then we added the humor part of the brief. This is a non-smoking Blackhawk flight, after storing your carry-on bags under your seat; insure that your seat backs & trays are in their full, upright & locked positions. Emergency exits are located anywhere that Hajji is not shooting at you, the in-flight movie is Airplane. And finally, for those of you that are participating in our frequent flyer’s club, you will be receiving 200 miles for this flight provided we don’t get shot down. We thank you for flying Commando Airlines and hope you enjoy your stay. This got us a few nervous chuckles.

The flight up was fairly uneventful. Then we hit the vertical decent point. This is the point in the flight when the pilot nose dives the aircraft so he can go from about 5000 feet to 30 feet as fast as possible. This is to lessen the exposure time to rockets. While this is going on, the pilot will launch flares to attract heat seeking rockets away from us and he’ll zigzag the bird to make it harder to get a lock on. What most people don’t realize is that this type of flying resembles NASA’s “Vomit Comet”. Everything and everyone will fall at the same speed as the aircraft so you will achieve Zero-G.

At this point, we got our first barf victims. They filled their bags pretty quick. The others got inspired when they saw us grab the front of one girl’s coveralls and hold it in front of her face so she could vomit into her coveralls. Either that or we get the puke shower. Then they looked at us in disbelief when we collected the barf bags for the next part of the flight. Once we were down to about 30 feet, we flew “map to Earth”. This means that no matter what the terrain does, the pilots will keep the aircraft at thirty feet above the ground. This is also where we start to get rid of the full barf bags. At the right moment, we played WW II bomber and release the “barf bombs” for the bomb run. They didn’t see the humor in this. We reassured them that the good natives are not out at this time so they don’t have to worry about the barf hitting innocent victims. We also told them that the only people out at this time are the ones trying to kill us and they deserve to get hit with a bag of puke. That got them laughing.

Finally, after 45 minutes of map to earth, we landed in our little corner of the planet. It turns out that most of them lost their dinner and one fainted as the result of the rapid nose dive. We brought her around and let her know that the flight was over. She was still trembling when we loaded her in the ambulance. When all was said & done, their coach asked me is all our flights are that rough. I told her that this one was fairly uneventful in that nobody was shooting at us or that we didn’t have to be rerouted due to “problems” developing with the locals.

This afternoon we were told by the sergeant major that they specifically asked for us to escort them for their return trip back south. They told him that they all felt very safe with the escort team they were with since they’ve been in country. I suppose that means we did a good job. I just hope they don’t take it personal when they realize that I have no interest in going to their show.

Anyway, I thought you’d get a laugh out of that little adventure. I hope all is well with all of you and I’ll write more later.


Blogger Meg said...

Yeah, I got a laugh out of it, but I'm not a man who had to dress a group of babes in, war IS hell!

I hope your day is going well and that you are keeping yourself safe. Look forward to see you at the blogs!



12:00 PM  
Blogger The Patriette said...

Heh heh heh.

5:55 PM  
Blogger Irene said...

That was sooo funny. Thank you for the great laugh. My husband is on his way there and I needed this!

6:02 AM  
Blogger The Fairy Wogdog said...

Nicely done; would you mind if I cross-post this on my site?

4:16 PM  
Blogger coconut commando said...

Dear Fairy Wogdog,

Thank you for visiting my blog. I would be flattered by the cross-posting of the article on your site. The same goes for any others that may find my musings entertaining.

6:32 PM  

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