Daily Archives: January 19, 2006

Shout out to a reader!

In this post I wrote about a hair raising trip I took on a C-130 transport plane in Qatar. Today, I got this comment to this post.

I’m a C-130 pilot and have done 4 tours in Southwest Asia including 3 at Al Udeid. I enjoyed reading your post very much. Couldn’t agree with you more on how much of a drag it can be, but trust me, it could be a lot worse. By the way, if you need a sponsor for your next trip, just let me know. You’re not missing much off the base, just KFC and a couple of Starbucks kiosks. As for the engine shutdown and “Emergency Ground Egress” you went through, the only part I didn’t quite buy was when the loadmaster said he couldn’t get the door open. If he was properly motivated I don’t think it would have been that big of a problem. Thanks for flying the Herk! See you next deployment. Lee, Abilene TX

I don’t have an email to return a comment so I figured I do it here (besides, it is complementary and I never give up a chance to flaunt it when people complement me).

Anyway…first things first. To Lee (and all of you as well, my loyal readers), thanks for taking the time to read my posts and I’m glad you enjoy them.

Lee does call me out and I think (politely) implies I might have exaggerated the story a bit. I went back to check my “rules” for this blog and realize that I did leave out one important point.

My ‘flashback’ stories may not totally jive with how events actually happened. Instead I try to describe what was going through my head while those events were happening. Don’t get me wrong…I don’t make stuff up, I just might ’embellish’ it a bit for dramatic effect (either to get laughs, sympathy or expensive gifts).

That being said, the part about the door not opening is, in fact, true. The whole episode probably took less than 10 seconds and I think he did get the door open, but by that time we were filing out another door closer to the front of the plane.

I should also say that I’ve flown on a few military aircraft by now (mostly C-130s but also a couple of C-17s) and I can honestly say that the crews on those aircraft were the some of the most professional and squared away that I’ve ever seen. They always took great care of the wounded soldiers I was sharing flights with and exhibited the utmost respect during those times fallen soldiers were on board.

So..my hat’s off to you. I hope I won’t be able to take you up on your offer to be my sponsor in Qatar but if you’re ever in the Ft. Dix/McGuire AFB area, drop me a line and if I’m around, the first beer’s on me.