Greetings from Operation Angel Thunder

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Greetings from Operation Angel Thunder

As I said in my last post, I am out in Tucson, Arizona at Davis-Monthan Air Force Base doing a sort of embed with Air Force PJs.  Unfortunately, I've gotten less time so far with the PJs (Pararescue Jumpers) than with the Army guys here, only because the Air Force is saying we can't fly on any of their birds because of sequestration.  Why we can fly on Army birds (Blackhawks) but not on Air Force ones is confusing.  Or, at least it is to me, but either way, it is what it is.

Yesterday we flew out to the Salt River Canyon and did swift water rescue stuff.  Basically it is training the PJs on what to do if someone is stuck in fast moving water.  Was pretty cool training, but the highlight for me anyway was the flight.

First though, here's a report from KGUN 9 News in Tucson.  These guys were with me the whole day.  Go to the link and watch the video as well if you have a few minutes.

Rescuing airmen and troops in trouble is one of the most dangerous---and satisfying jobs in the military.  This month Davis-Monthan is home base for a huge training exercise that involved more than two thousand military, and civilian first responders.
Our KGUN 9 crew flew along for part of Operation Angel Thunder a two week training exercise that involves the Air Force, the Army and civilian emergency responders from all over Arizona.
The Army Blackhawks fly inside the walls of Salt River Canyon.  The helicopter's about one and a half times the length of a school bus but pilots like Chief Warrant Officer 4th Class Michael Morris know to rescue troops in tight spots, they have to fly into tight spots.

"For sure it's exciting.  It's one of the things I signed up to be a pilot for was that feeling.  It gets the blood racing for sure.  There's no better feeling in the world, honestly."

I spent a little time talking to CW4 Morris yesterday, good dude.  Clearly loves what he is doing.

As for the flight.....well, it was really awesome, and REALLY cold.  Should have brought a coat to AZ I guess.  When that door was open, it was bitterly cold.  And as you can see from the videos below, I was really, really close to the open door.  Like, 3 inches from it.  As I said on my Facebook page last night, I am pretty okay with heights.  It is the knowledge that I will accelerate at 9.8 meters per second squared for a few seconds until I reach terminal velocity if I fall out.  And when I reach terra firma, I will bounce.  And it will not be good.


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News from the World of Military and Veterans Issues. Iraq and A-Stan in parenthesis reflects that the author is currently deployed to that theater.