Michael's Dispatches

Red Air: One Year Later

19 September 2012

Last Friday night, 14 September, I was asleep and had a strange dream.  I was walking and a car stopped in front of me so that I could not pass.  I looked inside and it was Chazray Clark.  I said, “hey, Chazray.”  Chazray said, “let’s go.”

So we were talking, and I said to him, “you got killed by that bomb.” Chazray said something like, “keep up the fight.”  What a strange dream.  I woke up ready to fight.

Chazray was killed last September 18th during combat operations in Zhari District, Kandahar Province, Afghanistan.  The mission began with an air assault that was unopposed on the landing zone.

The waning gibbous moon was about 74% illuminated and bright, casting moon shadows.  It can be advantageous to attack by air on the waning gibbous because the moon will provide the helicopters with light to land, and it will be bright enough for our night vision gear to work, and on this lunar phase the moon will still be up when the sunrises.  And so from the time of landing until sunrise, there will be a balance of cover of darkness but enough illumination to maneuver.   There will be no interruption of light.

That morning, it was bright enough to move without using the night vision gear, and so the Soldiers would flip up their monoculars because it was easier to walk without, which brought chastisement from the commander.  He wanted them to continue using the nightvision; if the enemy fires, you might not see his position if the monocular is up, but while using nightvision, the direction of the flashes will be hard to miss.

The Soldiers moved into the village.  Still before sunrise, Chazray stepped on a bomb.

The next day, 19 September, we must have still been on that mission when the remains of Chazray Clark were delivered home to the United States.

Details about Chazray’s final mission are here.  RED AIR: America’s MEDEVAC failure.

For more on MEDEVAC failures in Afghanistan.

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