Wednesday, July 04, 2007

From My-Army-Guy on July 4

Keep your eye out on ABC or CBS on the two pilots that were shot down recently and rescued. It's a pretty incredible story. They're two of our guys that got shot down south of Baghdad while they were doing a recon in their little OH-58D Kiowa scout helicopter.

They said it started out with them taking small arms fire, like AK47s, and when they turned away to avoid that fire they flew right into a mess of anti-aircraft heavy machine guns that pretty much tore them up. The helicopter finally became unflyable and they crashed next to a canal. Luckily enough they were flying low and slow by that time.

When they unassed the airframe they looked at each other and were amazed that they only had a scratch on one guy and a bruise on the other. Then they started taking fire from a bunch of houses across a field on the other side of the aircraft, so they jumped into the canal, intending on heading away from the bad guys, crossing the canal and escaping that way.

But when they jumped into the canal they got stuck in the mud, which was knee deep. The water was up to their chins and they couldn't move anywhere. It turned out to be a godsend because there were a mess of bad guys on the other side of the canal and they would have run into them right away.

So the bad guys came up on either side of the canal and began shooting into the reeds they were hiding in. They were completely hidden, a mere 15-20 feet away from the bad guys, though one of the pilots said he could see one of the bad guys on the bank. He had his M4 trained on the guy, but didn't shoot because he was afraid that would give away their position.

Bullets were flying all over through the reeds, narrowly missing them.

After a few minutes one of the anti-aircraft machine guns was pulled up in a truck and they started shooting the reeds using it. Amazingly enough not one bullet hit the pilots, even though they were hitting all around them in the reeds and water.

A few minutes later the bad guys spread out along the canal, shooting into the water, and then they all got into vehicles and left, probably suspecting that our rescue forces were going to show up soon.

About that time a UAV recon drone buzzed in over head and then the place became lousy with Air Force jets and Army helicopters looking for them. The one pilot pulled himself out of the canal and flagged an OH-58 down and then an Apache gunship landed to pick them up.

From there they did a "spur ride" it's called (an old Cavalry term and these guys are air cavalry dudes). The pilot that had flagged down the helicopters strapped himself onto the left side of the Apache, sitting on the winglet that holds the missiles, and the front seat pilot of the Apache got out and put the other downed pilot into his seat and then strapped himself onto the outside of the right side of the aircraft.

Then they flew back here to the airfield, were dropped off and (this is kind of funny) were left on the tarmac looking at each other like "What just happened?!"

Finally, after a minute or two of standing on the tarmac looking around, an ambulance pulled up and took them to the TMC where they were checked out and released with only minor bruises, etc.

The one pilot told me he had to go to the bathroom really bad while he was in the water in that canal being shot at, but he was afraid to because he'd heard that if you pee'd in the water in Iraq parasites would swim up the stream and get into your system. I thought that was hilarious.

We're going live to Fox news today 7:45 EST again. The only people who haven't covered this story is NBC. Go figure!

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