Michael's Dispatches

Kids, Emails, and Dustoffs

2011-09-10-204308-1000Sergeant Larson, 4-4 Cav, stands night guard in Zhari District, Afghanistan. Sergeant Larson got shot a day or two before. The bullet only ripped his gear.

25 October 2011

Two types of emails stop me cold to read.  Those from downrange troops, and kids.  Gobs of emails come in from both.  This morning came the best in a long while.  The message was from a young girl in the United States.  She writes, "I might want to be a Green Baret do they go to Russia? maybe I can be an american spy…..after that i want to be a kindergarten teacher."  I love that email.

Now back to work.

We are making progress in raising the issue of the dangerously unarmed Dustoff helicopters.  As stated in Red Air and Golden Seconds, removing the useless red crosses and loading up with machine guns is important.

Today, my team and I are hard at work editing combat video, while I continue to research the helicopter issue.  Meanwhile, an Air Force Pedro pilot sends this video.  I recognize some of the faces after having flown with and written about at least one of these Pedro crews in Helmand.  I probably flew in the same helicopters in this video.  The video was made before my arrival to the Pedros.  It’s possible I was on the ground with the British in Sangin while the Pedros were coming in on some of these missions.  The Pedros came in about every day, or several times per day.  There were a lot of casualties.  Sangin was a bloodfest and that’s where I first learned of Pedros.  The British Soldiers loved the Pedros because no amount of bad weather or ground fire would stop them from blasting in.  Sangin was a little corner of the war known by few, but those who were there will remember always.  My first introduction to Pedros was during an evacuation in Sangin when Pedros came so low and hard that I nearly ducked.  Boots and rifles were hanging out the door and helicopters were flying so hard you’d think they would break apart.  I was amazed at how hard they could fly without breaking off the rotors.  Later, when I was flying in those same helicopters, it seemed like astronaut training.  They had to fly hard to avoid being shot down because they literally were within slingshot range.  No kidding.  In Sangin, just before I arrived, a resupply helicopter had been blasted out of the sky by an RPG.  Killed everyone.

In my previous dispatch Golden Seconds, the “9-line” report appears many times.  In this video, a troop can be heard calling in a 9-line.  The 9-line begins when the voice says, “Prepare to copy.”  A calm voice then begins describing injuries.

This video shows what it looks and sounds like to run rescue missions in some areas of southern Afghanistan.  It’s no-kidding kinetic and serious.  After I left, a Pedro crew was shot down and killed just near Sangin in 2010.  Rest in Peace, our brothers.

None of these images or videos are mine.  The author did a fine job. Video Link.

More links:

Goldern Seconds

Red Air


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