Wednesday, May 04, 2011

Blasts from the past

This former Junior Bird Man was jolted today to receive a letter from Charlie Horse 40.

Mack from my old helicopter unit in Quang Tri somehow tracked my address down.

Stick a feather up my ass and tickle me silly. When they remember you from 40 years ago, it kinda chokes a guy up.

I'd spent way too many years reliving to myself those halcyon days of yesteryear. So much so that my vision was clouded for many years, although I'd have denied strenuously any suggestion that was so. Thankfully things got bad enough, and I still had sense enough, to reach out before seeking that last blissful refuge of darkness.

I remember Mack as the older new guy in our unit (he had by then 15 years service and it was his second tour). Our unit check pilot, we flew up to the unused airstrip at Dong Ha where a few auto rotations and questions established that I at least wasn't gonna kill us that day. Although I well remember the day they ordered me to take off with him in the front seat, in near zero, zero conditions and fly out to Khe Shan. I told him to make sure I keep us straight and level and when we got up to 80 or 90 knots I pulled it back slowly and climbed us up through what seemed like a mile of clouds (actually 800 or a 1000 feet)'til we popped out into the clear blue and turned west to where the monsoon was over beyond the mountains. They didn't give us but 5 or 10 hours of instrument training back then and I well remember the advice the instructor gave about flying in clouds, "don't fly in clouds, they're full of rocks".

Memories of the past.....long ago and far, far away.

Also got a call tonight from Bob Smith who was still new when I rotated back stateside.

Old times.

2 comments:

Jean said...

How cool to hear from those guys!
I remember getting a phone call from a man I dated in college about 25 years later. I was flabbergasted and flattered. (Michael wasn't too thrilled.) We still are in touch occasionally. He's a good friend.

kdzu said...

It was beyond cool. Way.