(Many pictures are more interesting if expanded.)
The last week I have been out in Herat... (That is on the other side of the country next to the Iran border for those of you that don't have a map of Afghanistan handy.) I found out that two of my friends from pilot training were going to be out there as well as two guys from my home squadron. That combined with the fact that I have never been to Herat made me think it would be a good place to take a 4 day pass. So, having some hookups at the airport, I got myself on an Italian C-130 and was spirited nearly painlessly to the Italian/Spanish base in Herat. (That's right, there is a combination Italian/Spanish base. I got there just after lunch, so obviously I couldn't do anything for the next four hours as everyone was on break... until the end of August)
My arrival in vacation clothes.
No problem because cell phones are magic! Even though most Afghans have never seen a paved road, the cell phone coverage here makes the US look abysmal. The taliban gets better coverage sneeking through the Konar valley than my mom driving from Marquette to the bridge. Either way, I shortly link up with M., who I find in typical Italian style... dressed completely in white and pink spandex.
(notice no picture of this) ... This is normal for italians, but I still went off and found a different more clothed friend, "The Vegetable."
Later that evening I found myself in in a bunker again for the second time that day. Now, I have been in quite a few bunkers but never before with the Spanish. Usually it is a time of sitting there with all your shit on just waiting. Not for the Spanish! These cats don't let a few nearby explosions get in the way of having a good time! I recommend for your next indirect fire attack, head for the Spanish bunker. The party was over by about one AM... (We ran out of red bull.) but as they say, "A good time was had by all"
I was invited on a helicopter appreciation flight with the C-130 guys. M. is demonstraiting the hard job of a cargo pilot.
But at least the view is nice.
So, I took a few C-130 bubbas to see the mighty Hip! This pretty much became a lesson in italian swearing and awe as they looked at these awesome machines. "Hey-a... it seems to-a be leaking something-a," After which they came to the conclusion that all of us are crazy. (For you history buffs, the aircraft pictured was actually Massoud's personal helicopter. It even has a place for a forward firing nose gun! It is good for the avionics!)
Though speaking of aircraft and luck. Here are a few less lucky aircraft. This is a pile of aircraft "The Vegetable" wanted to go take a look at. I didn't figure out how to get any of these old migs back to the US yet... but there was an old soviet motorcycle side car that had me pretty tempted.
Piles of old migs.
A more artistic view, though less documentary photo by "The Vegetable."
The man himself: Open cockpit jet pilot. "I want to hear those commies scream!"
This post is mostly pictures... but that is only because I have to wait for statutes of limitations to run out before I can start telling the stories. Or, just give me a beer next time I see you and I will tell them. Incase I forget, just remind me to tell the story about the "mortar attack with the spanish..." or "the GIANT piece of parmesan cheese" is also a good one too! (The piece of cheese is really big... like from now on when you need an analogy for big, you are going to think parmesan cheese instead of Dolly Parton.)
A neat little video that makes me want to take science books to strip clubs in foreign countries and have the dancers read them to me. Thus the title for this post.