Helo mission – Part 1

Approachng helo at LZ

Approachng helo at LZ

Instead of driving our armored vehicles, the Captain and I would be transported by helicopter to visit one of our supported FOBs.  This would be a new experience for both of us.  While we waited at the LZ (Landing Zone) we were greeted by a stray dog.  The Captain is somewhat afraid of dogs and this one stood at the exact spot where

Stray dog on the LZ

Stray dog on the LZ

we would board the helicopter.  It quickly moved when it heard the helicopter approaching.
As the helo was touching down it created a large cloud of dust and it was like slow motion as this ball of debris rolled towards us.  It only took us about five minutes to board the helicopter, get strapped in and lift off.  As we flew through the towering Hindu Kush

Remote villages seen from the air

Remote villages seen from the air

Mountains, I took note of the isolated villages dotting the valleys between the ragged peaks.  At a distance the folds of the mountains resembled a table cloth that was scrunched up.   Vegetation was sparse except for some conifers that outlined some of the villages.  It’s hard to believe that small hamlets are built in this mountainous terrain.  No

Villages in the valleys

Villages in the valleys

wonder they had to use donkeys to transport the ballot boxes for the elections.  I can only imagine how tough it will be to survive the coming harsh winters in these desolated areas.
As we approached FOB Airborne, the chopper started to vibrate.  The vibrations started in my feet and worked its way up to my teeth causing them to clatter.  The vibrations only lasted for a few seconds and then we touched down on the LZ.  With my vest, helmet, ruck sack, weapons, and ammunition, I was toting over a hundred pounds of weight.  I looked around hoping to see a small burro or donkey for transport, but none could be found.  So today I was the donkey as we “rucked” up the hill in search of a place to stay.

AF Captain in helo

AF Captain in helo

We checked into billeting and since the Army gives special treatment to E-8 and E-9, the clerk inquired whether I would mind if the Captain could stay with me in the VIP tent.  The difference with the VIP tent is that it had beds with lumpy mattresses instead of fold out cots.  I was feeling gracious and let my Captain and the interpreter stay with me.
After unpacking our gear, we scouted the FOB looking for our ANA Kandak soldiers and our future office building.  It didn’t take long to find the building.  It was the well known decrepit looking structure.  It didn’t look too bad from the outside, but I have learned not to judge a book by its cover.  Such was the case with this building too.  The

Me and my interpreter at FOB Airborne

Me and my interpreter

Marines were also going to use this building previously occupied by the French and constructed many years ago by the Soviets.  A Marine Staff Sergeant showed us to our future office.  It’s going to take a little bit of work to bring it up to Air Force standards.  The wiring was a bit primitive and the fuse box looked rather antiquated.  With a

Our future office

Our future office

little bit of elbow grease and some repairs, I think we can make it habitable.

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2 Responses

  1. well now, this will be a story.( note book in hand )

  2. The Thunder Run has linked to this post in the blog post From the Front: 10/14/2009 News and Personal dispatches from the front and the home front.

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