Here is a picture of myself taking part in some Call For Fire (CFF) training in Afghanistan. It was my first time and you can tell my virgin status because I’m holding the cheat sheet in my left hand and the hand mic in my right as I talk to the Cobra pilots. Over all I thought the Marine Cobra pilots were impressive as hell, they certainly didn’t have many of the restrictions that regular Army pilots had.
Coming in on a gun run. As the CFF mission comes in, the pilot heads towards the target while angling up into the air.
Next he comes hurling downwards like cresting the peak of a hill on a roller coaster.
Lined up with the target that has been pin pointed by ground troops the Cobra opens up with it’s minigun and hoses the target down. In this instance, we are just training by calling in gun runs on some empty connex containers.
These pilots would fire on targets so close to us that we would get showered with hot brass as the helicopter flew overhead. You could hear it dropping all around us like rain drops.
The real fun came during the night portion of this training. We were pin pointing the targets down range with infrared lasers mounted on our rifles. Because of the dust kicked up from previous gun runs, our lasers were blocked out by the cloud of debris about fifty yards in front of us. The pilots thought that we were intentionally targeting something fifty yards to our front and went ahead and lit that area up, the minigun almost putting lead down in our laps.
This short documentary I found today to my surprise is about many of the issues addressed in “Reflexive Fire” namely international drug smuggling under the auspices of western governments. I was somewhat familiar with Daniel Hopsicker’s work but had no idea he had produced this short film that so closely mirrors the subject matter of my novel in progress. I would say that this video makes a good trailer for my book but to tell the truth that really does not do Daniel’s research justice, this is real life and as usual is it much, much stranger then fiction.
The MH-47 helicopters screamed through the night, the dull black finish on their fuselage blending seamlessly with the dark skyline.
The twin rotor blades cut through the air as they flew nap of the earth following the contour lines of the mountains as they rose and fell just a dozen meters over the surface, the pilots flying by instrument and night vision goggles.
In the belly of the six rotary wing aircraft the passengers sat on the cold floor front to back loaded down with rifles, machine guns, ammunition, and grenades. The aircraft were completely blacked out, no one dosing off due to a combination of pre-combat jitters and motion sickness as the helicopters rocked up and down.
The flight to the first combat outpost for refueling had been uneventful; now they were in a combat zone where pilots were subject to fire from surface to air weapons and ground troops found themselves in constant contact with enemy guerrilla fighters from a dozen different factions vying for control of the rugged landscape below.
Two new chapters up today. I’ll try to have six up tomorrow.
Every Special Operations soldiers wants three things, to be a HALO jumper, to get a bayonet kill, and to ride on a MH-6 Little Bird. I got to do two of the three. I’m still holding out for the zombie apocalypse for my bayonet kill. Above is a picture of me when I was a sniper in 2005 during a training exercise.
This is the view of what it looks like while sitting on the pod of the aircraft that I am leaning on in the first picture from the air.
I was trying to take a picture of a deer I had seen in the forest below…yeah, good luck doing that with a disposable camera while in flight on one of these things.