Recently, I found myself wondering why I am filled with a deep dread whenever I think of a "Round trip Ticket".
The reason finally dawned on me the other day when I was discussing prices for round trip packages with a friend.
In other posts, I have told the world what a normal day was for a flight crew in the RVN. We started our days before daylight with pre-flight, our mission, or missions, fairly set before takeoff. On many days, our mission would change as the day went on, by changing courses, or schedules, as needed to support, or lift, troops and supplies.
It was a simple day. We were taking off from our revetment with a "Clear Left, Clear Right" from the Gunner, and Crew Chief, hovering to the main strip, calling for clearance, and quickly going into transitional lift, then climbing to 1500'.
After a couple of sorties, we got a call for an emergency Medivac. We were in the area, so we turned around, turned on the speed, contacted the unit, and realized it was the LRRP's we had dropped earlier.
|Carrying an Injured LRRP|
I helped load them up and gave the pilots a green light to DiDiMoa!
My gunner and I swung around and checked our passengers. Both were fairly stable and it looked like they would make it home.
We landed shortly, and the medics came out to the pad to help evac our passengers. I was most worried about the guy with the chest wound as his pulse was not very stable.
I then told the pilots I wanted to check the ship out, before we started back to the resupply pad, so they hovered off the pad and set down on the ready pad nearby.
After going over the ship, I found no holes, and we took off to finish our missions for the day.
We landed on the Black Cross pad in Lai Khe and helped the guys load up the body bags. I could see the tags under the marker lights of the ship. One of them was the LRRP we had Medivac'd earlier that day...
As I sat down in the gun well, my Gunner said, "He has gotten a round trip ticket today, God Damn It!" It is the simple statements that stick with people sometimes ...
We can watch a politician spout paragraphs of hyperbole, and maybe one sentence will hit us as meaningful. Or as my old gunner would say, "They don't pay us enough to give a shit, but many a shit has been given!"
Lance L. Pinamonte
Crew Chief/Door Gunner
Other Articles by Lance:
The CircleWhat's Wrong with Being Wrong?
Crew Chief's Memory of Thanksgiving '68
A Fearful America
“I am only one, but I am one. I can't do everything, but I can do something. The something I ought to do, I can do, and by the grace of God, I will.” ~Everett Hale
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