Thursday, May 14, 2009

Military Training for Crash Recovery - Arizona Style

Davis-Monthan AFB, just outside of Tucson, AZ:
[Location: Lovingly known as the 'Bone-Yard' by the old-timers]

So I haven't written in a while, been silly with busyness. I am on a short little military TDY to the Arizona desert to practice what we call Crash Recovery, learning the various methods and exercises to be able to lift anything from a small fighter, to a Boeing 707. And we did by-god, with 100 degrees and coolers of ice water. Being stationed in Portland Oregon, which is currently in torrential downpour mode, I may as well have landed on planet Mars. It is hot, and yes, it is a dry hot. But the sun is like a heat lamp that is pointing at your head three feet away.
There are plenty of little varmints out here to be aware of as well, we were briefed. From Tarantulas that can [supposedly] jump up to 5 feet, but are relatively harmless (suuurrree), to black widow spiders and killer bee's. The worst, and probably most lethal, are the Diamondback Rattlesnakes that cruise about, depending on the time of day. Mostly they stay away, but are known to hide in the shady areas in the morning, therefore, we are highly advised to kick, rattle, and make as much as a ruckus as possible with anything lying on the ground, in the dead airplanes etc.
An instructor told us once he peaked inside the main landing gear, under the forward doors, and was met face to face...6 inches..with a Bull Snake, hanging down from above in the shade. Luckily, this type of snake is calmer and didn't strike him in the face, he slowly backed away to safety, as his adrenaline shot through the roof. (As yours and mine would as well!) whew!

Speaking of airplanes, there are ACRES of them out here. I can say this, because it is declassified, and any quick search on google earth will show you exactly what I mean. From giant cargo C-5 Galaxy's, to the tiny shells of cobra helicopters, if you can think of it, they got it, and tons more you never even remembered existing. I will try to get some pics up here when I get back to Oregon, in a couple days.

Just wanted to write a note. And oh yeah, when you are in the desert for 9 hours, and put sunscreen all over your arms and neck, don't then roll your T-shirt sleeves up to attempt getting rid of that farmers tan you've been sporting for have to remember to apply lotion to that area too....yeah... Looking in the mirror, I look like I'm wearing cherry colored shoulder pads... like some kinda roman legionary or something....quite......rediculous.

My wife would be proud.

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