When I was in Iraq I flew on a few of these C-130 flights, always in the back and I can promise you it was a ride of a lifetime. I received this from one of the guys in my unit. This is from a colorful writer from the 1st Marine Aircraft Wing based at MCAS. The guy ought to write for a living..... he is my nominee for "Best of the Month."
VERY GOOD READ.
There I was at 6,000 feet over central , two hundred eighty knots and we're dropping faster than Hilton's panties. It's a typical September evening in the ; hotter than a rectal thermometer, and I'm sweating like a priest at a Cub Scout meeting. But that's neither here nor there. The night is moonless over and blacker than a Steven King novel. But it's 2004, folks, and I'm sporting the latest in night-combat technology - namely, hand-me-down night vision goggles (NVGs) thrown out by the fighter boys.
Additionally, my 1962 Lockheed C-130E Hercules is equipped with an obsolete, yet, semi-effective missile warning system (MWS). The MWS conveniently makes a nice soothing tone in your headset just before the missile explodes into your airplane. Who says you can't polish a turd?
At any rate, the NVGs are illuminatinglike during a Mike Tyson fight. These NVGs are the cat's a$$. But I've digressed. The preferred method of approach tonight is the random shallow. This tactical maneuver allows the pilot to ingress the landing zone in an unpredictable manner, thus exploiting the supposedly secured perimeter of the airfield in an attempt to avoid enemy surface-to-air missiles and small arms fire. Personally, I wouldn't bet my pink a$$ on that theory, but the approach is fun as hell and that's the real reason we fly it.
"Flaps One Hundred!" I bark at the shaking cat. Now it's all aim-point and airspeed. Aviation 101, with the exception there are no lights, I'm on NVGs, it's Baghdad, and now tracers are starting to crisscross the black sky. Naturally, and not at all surprisingly, I grease the Goodyear's on brick-one of runway 33 left, bring the throttles to ground idle and then force the props to full reverse pitch. Tonight, the sound of freedom is my four Standard propellers chewing through the thick, putrid, Baghdad air. The huge, one hundred thirty thousand pound, lumbering whisper pig comes to a lurching stop in less than two thousand feet. Let's see a Viper do that!
We exit the runway to a welcoming committee of government issued Army grunts. It's time to download their beans and bullets and letters from their sweethearts, look for war booty, and of course, urinate on Saddam's home. Walking down the crew entry steps with my lowest-bidder, Beretta 92F, 9 millimeter strapped smartly to my side, look around and thank God, not Allah, I'm an American and I'm on the winning team. Then I thank God I'm not in the Army. Knowing once again I've cheated death, I ask myself, "What in the hell am I doing in this mess?" Is it Duty, Honor, and Country? You bet your a$$. Or could it possibly be for the glory, the swag, and not to mention, chicks dig the Air Medal. There's probably some truth there too. But now is not the time to derive the complexities of the superior, cerebral properties of the human portion of the aviator-man-machine model. It is however, time to get out of this s#*t-hole. Hey copilot , clean yourself up! And how's 'bout the 'Before Starting Engines Checklist."
God, I love this job!"