Archive: August 2006

Summer Ends; the Weather Changes

I awoke and began my ritual of gathering toiletries and a towel for my morning shave and tooth-brushing. En route to the trailer bathrooms, sweating from the staggering heat, I looked up and noticed clouds. A sandstorm blasts into Al Taqaddum, Iraq during late afternoon of August 21, 2006. (Higginbotham -- Unit Photo) View Enlarged Photo...

By Bert Stover | August 26, 2006; 8:19 AM ET | Comments (8)

Alpha Company Sponsors Unit in Ramadi

In the months we've been here, we've flown to all corners of Iraq. Places with varying degrees of available services, from installations with a PX, coffee shop and even traffic court, to remote locations where a radio call is required several minutes prior to landing so the landing zone can be secured and marked. The latter are lucky to have a bathroom....

By Bert Stover | August 22, 2006; 8:55 AM ET | Comments (13)

A Sign of Things to Come, An Al Asad Visit

While on pass in Qatar in June, I slyly was assigned the additional duty of Unit Movement Officer. As a UMO, I am an assistant to the commander for all things relating to our unit's journey home, from transporting people and equipment to helicopters. It's a logistical nightmare I'm happy to take on....

By Bert Stover | August 16, 2006; 7:00 AM ET | Comments (12)

'Hump Day' Is Upon Us

When I think of "hump day" in this country, I consider what's done versus what's left to do. For those that need some help understanding what we do, this post will give you an idea....

By Bert Stover | August 10, 2006; 7:08 AM ET | Comments (7)

I'm a Pilot in Command, Let the Learning Begin

After surviving the first day of the PC check ride, day two would end with my realizing I had blown through a scheduled day off. Over-tired and over-tasked, I'd forgotten to look at a schedule. Days two, three and four lasted just as long and ended with my feeling exhausted and drained, yet surprised at my progress. Just six months ago, I was unsure of my ability to start an aircraft. Now I talked to instructor pilots about cockpit environment and policing mistakes before they got the chance to matriculate into my enemy....

By Bert Stover | August 5, 2006; 7:00 AM ET | Comments (8)

PC Training Begins

The first day of PC (pilot-in-command) training lasted all day. We, of course, flew during the hottest part of the day and began our work on refining my instrument flight skills. Before the flight, we had an hours-long "table talk," in which an instructor pilot imparted his knowledge on green pilots, a laborious but necessary part of flight instruction....

By Bert Stover | August 4, 2006; 7:00 AM ET | Comments (6)

Getting the Nod

Almost two months have passed since I got the PC (pilot in command) talk. In the meantime, I have spent hours preparing; answering personal questions about the importance of being a PC and studying to ensure I could pass the test. My plan was to get to a point where I would be ready for the job about half way through the deployment. It seems things have come together as planned....

By Bert Stover | August 2, 2006; 7:00 AM ET | Comments (9)

Should I Become a Pilot in Command?

One hot morning back in June, just before my pass to Qatar, an instructor pilot approached me as I was getting off work for the day. He asked if we could talk outside -- in a tone that indicated I had violated a regulation or acted insubordinate in some way. I followed him with my mind racing, wondering what he wanted to discuss. He began with a disclaimer that I needed to hear him out....

By Bert Stover | August 1, 2006; 7:33 AM ET | Comments (12)

 

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