Archive: December 2005

Home for the Holidays... Last Time Until DEC. 2007

Last week we were granted 12 days leave for the holidays, returning via Marine Corps C-130s from Yuma to Richmond. For a couple of weeks the logistics of exactly how we would return to Richmond were in doubt, causing some soldiers to purchase tickets home, guaranteeing their departure (too often some have seen plans fall through). For those that did exercise the cargo plane option, we would like to thank the Marine Corps for the ride. We owe you one....

By Bert Stover | December 28, 2005; 3:10 PM ET | Comments (6)

Training Exercise 'Desert Talon' ...

After we returned from our Thanksgiving break, much appreciated by the unit, we began our formal training with the Marine Corps. We started with several days of briefings, mostly classified, in preparation for the multi-service training exercise "Desert Talon." Most of the briefings were designed to combat the problems of integrating the Army with the Marine Corps, especially the technical jargon. Most of the Marines started their speeches with a disclaimer: "This arrangement, the Army working for the Marines, has never happened before, at least in our careers, so please be patient as we sort out our differences and get used to working with each other."...

By Bert Stover | December 14, 2005; 10:24 AM ET | Comments (2)

Arrival at Marine Corps Air Station, Yuma

Due to crew rest, showtime in Phoenix was 12:30 (Mountain Standard Time). My aircraft would lead the company of eight Black Hawks to our home for the next few months, Marine Corps Air Station, Yuma....

By Bert Stover | December 12, 2005; 5:00 AM ET | Comments (24)

Flying into Phoenix

Showtime was 08:00 in El Paso the morning of Nov. 13, and most of us met downstairs in the hotel in the atrium for a complimentary full breakfast. We then left for the airport, and the Pilots in Command began haggling over the best route of flight. 13 NOV 05 - Members of A Co. tie down an aircraft and pack their rental vehicles in preparation for heading to their hotel in Phoenix, AZ. (Bert Stover -- washingtonpost.com) View Enlarged Photo...

By Bert Stover | December 9, 2005; 5:00 AM ET | Comments (6)

Break for Thanksgiving

We were granted a four day pass for the Thanksgiving holiday, but many of us were not able to spend it at home due to high prices of airfare. Some made it home and others decided to have home come out here. Some of us decided to take small local area trips to neighboring cities, anything but to spend the holiday on base, but there are those that chose to stay on base, too. In any case, for most of the battalion we got our first days off since the deployment began. As we all returned to duty the Monday after Thanksgiving, everybody has a renewed motivation for the coming months of work....

By Bert Stover | December 8, 2005; 11:14 PM ET | Email a Comment

Heading for El Paso

We gathered in the hotel lobby on Nov. 12, then headed for the airport in a short, unofficial motorcade of minivans. Somehow, all eight of our aircraft had forgotten to pay for fuel in Little Rock the day before, so Capt. Heins lectured the crews about the need to pay for our gas and assigned a fuel officer for each flight of four aircraft. We then loaded the aircraft, cranked the engines and made our way out of Dallas/Ft. Worth to our first stop in San Angelo, Tex. (KSJT), where we all noticed the incredible drop in humidity. The flatlands also provided a good breeze in the 23 degree Celsius weather. 12 NOV 05 - Two A Company Black Hawks cast shadows on the water just before landing at the San Angelo airport. (Bert Stover -- washingtonpost.com) View More Photos...

By Bert Stover | December 8, 2005; 5:00 AM ET | Comments (9)

A Detour Through Dallas

After seven and a half hours of flight time from Richmond to Little Rock, Capt. Heins gave us until 10:00 hours (Central Standard Time) to get up and check out of our hotel. Our crank time was 12 noon for the flight to Dallas, but after boarding the aircraft with our gear, we noticed that the Captain's aircraft was not loaded and several crew chiefs were standing around chatting about some maintenance issues. Start up was delayed for more than an hour. 11 NOV 05, Love Field (Dallas) from our aircraft at 1500 feet. (Bert Stover -- washingtonpost.com)...

By Bert Stover | December 7, 2005; 5:00 AM ET | Comments (5)

 

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